How to avoid damage from potholes. 

Will Kerr's profile picture
Will Kerr

Going through a pothole at speed can hit you right where it hurts – the wallet. So how do you avoid the danger and expense of these self-appointed speed bumps? Here, we get into how to avoid damage from potholes. 

A growing problem.

It’s estimated that there’s roughly 1 million potholes in the UK – which averages out to about 6 for every mile of council controlled roads. They’ve always been a headache, but with public spending under pressure, the problem’s become much worse recently. 

Between 2022 and 2023 pothole-related breakdowns leapt up by 33%.

They’re now one of the leading reasons for car trouble overall. But other than getting out there with a cement mixer and filling them in (that’s a joke, please don’t do that), how should you deal with potholes? 

1) Report it. 

You can officially report potholes here. Hopefully, something can then be done about it. 

2) Know your enemy. 

If you’re on familiar roads, making a note of major potholes and being ready for them is just a matter of experience. But what if you’re further from home? 

To avoid being taken by surprise, it helps to know what causes potholes. That way, you’ll know where and when you’re likely to come across them. There are really two main factors to be aware of: 

The weather: Potholes often form due to rain gathering in cracks and crevices, then freezing. As it freezes, it expands, breaking the road surface apart and causing holes. With that in mind, potholes are most likely to form during wet, cold weather. Obviously, in the UK that could be anytime, but January to March is the real ‘pothole season’. 

rainy road
If you could see this road through all the rain, there’d probably be a pothole somewhere.

Wear and tear: The other factor that causes potholes to form is simple wear on the surface through use. If it’s a road that sees a lot of traffic – especially from heavy vehicles – that’ll increase the likelihood of a pothole. 

3) Mind your tires. 

As well as helping you save fuel, making sure your tyres are inflated at the correct pressure will help a little with lessening the impact of potholes. 

You can find more on treating your tires right (and general care maintenance) here

care for your tires
You wouldn’t walk down the street in bare feet, so don’t drive on under-inflated tires. If you would walk down the street in bare feet, well then, what can we say?

4) Give yourself more time.

Looking further ahead and driving a little slower will give you more time to react to so you can slow down safely, steer around (where possible) and avoid damage from potholes. Depending on the situation, slamming your brakes on, or rapidly swerving could be much more dangerous than the pothole itself. 

5) Be suspicious of puddles.

As we’ve mentioned, periods of heavy rain make potholes deeper – while at the same time potentially disguising them as innocent little puddles. If you can’t actually see the road surface through the water, don’t assume it’ll be fine to splash on through. 

6) Make sure your headlights are on good form. 

Potholes can sneak up on you at the best of times. At night, they’re much harder to spot – so you want to give yourself the best visibility possible. Luckily, we have a guide here that you can use to make sure your headlights aren’t losing any of their lustre.

Get a Quick Quote here: