As we creep towards the end of winter and the start of Spring in Rhode Island, more and more potholes are becoming visible, causing a major safety hazard for drivers.

While most collisions with potholes may seem like a minor inconvenience, there are cases when colliding with a pothole can cause serious damage to your tires, rims, ball joints, struts, and even the frame of your vehicle. In fact, potholes can even total your vehicle due to the momentary loss of control they can cause as well as the possibility of frame damage. On average, potholes account for $3 billion in damages to US vehicles each year, according to AAA.

So, what can Rhode Islanders do to avoid pothole damage? Following these six tips is a great start.

1. Steer away if you can, but avoid dangerous swerving

If you can avoid a pothole, please do so safely by calmly steering away. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid swerving into a more dangerous situation – and remember that calm, controlled movements are always best. Jerking the steering wheel right before you hit a pothole can also cause your tire to hit the pothole at an odd angle which can cause more damage to your tire, wheel, or your alignment.

2. Slow down, but don’t lock up your brakes

The harder you hit a pothole, the more damage you can do, so we recommend slowing down whenever a collision with a pothole is unavoidable. However, completely locking up your brakes upon contact with a pothole can cause your front-end suspension system to compress which may actually increase the damage.

3. Drive defensively and avoid tailgating

Giving the driver in front of you plenty of space comes up as a tip in our articles very often and for good reason – it gives you more time to react safely to any hazard on the road. The same rule applies to potholes.

4. Watch for puddles

The dangerous thing about puddles is that you can never really tell how deep they are. What might look like a little water pooled up on the surface of the road could be hiding a nasty pothole below. Avoid puddles if and when you can.

5. Make sure your tires are properly inflated before and after a pothole collision

Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended PSI gives your vehicle the best protection against potholes and the best control of your vehicle. This can help you avoid potholes while also providing the right amount of cushioning in some situations to prevent major damage. If you do wind up hitting a pothole, pay close attention to that tire and watch for signs of a flat, slow leak, bubble, or bulge. It is also recommended that you inspect the rim of your vehicle when it is safe to do so.

6. If you feel that your vehicle may have been badly damaged by a collision, get a professional opinion

As one of the few Class-A Certified autobody shops in Rhode Island, Reliable Collision Repair is a trusted expert to handle the appraisal of damages to your vehicle whether they are caused by a pothole or some other hazard. With over 2 decades in business, we understand that whenever your vehicle needs collision repair, it can feel like your life has been turned upside down. That’s why we do everything we can to get you back on the road.

Whether you know that your vehicle is in need of repairs or if you’re just not sure, you can trust our experienced team to take a look and point you in the right direction. Just give us a call at (401) 823-4770 or schedule an appointment with us through Carwise.

For situations in which your vehicle cannot be driven to us due to damages, we offer towing and accident recovery services as well as car rental services when needed.