The freeze-and-thaw weather pattern of the past several weeks has left many Iowa roadways looking more like the cratered surface of the moon. Potholes are becoming dangerous obstacles for motorists all over the state. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says for starters, fight potholes by keeping your tires properly inflated.
White says: "Avoid tailgating and watch for potholes by leaving plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Before swerving around a pothole, be sure to check surrounding traffic. If a pothole cannot be avoided, simply slow down. Hitting a pothole at high-speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts and springs."
State transportation officials push the phrase "Don’t veer for deer," as swerving could land you in the ditch or in oncoming traffic. White says the same could be said for potholes — be very cautious if you’re going to try and steer around one. "When driving over a pothole-filled road, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control," White says, "do not brake when directly over a pothole. Applying the brakes causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the wheel and can cause damage from the impact."
While many potholes in Iowa are likely filled with ice right now, White says it’ll melt soon enough and the water that’s left in a pothole could be very misleading. White says: "Beware of water that may be concealing a deep pothole. Potholes can impact your wheel alignment and suspension system resulting in recurring loss of tire pressure, vibrations from the wheel area, uneven wear or lumps on the tire and may cause your vehicle to pull to one side." She says a broken shock or strut from a pothole could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create dangers when driving.
If you are having trouble steering after a hard bonk, White says to get the car looked over by a qualified mechanic right away.