By Oliver Hall
Driving over potholes can wreck tyres and alter the vehicle’s steering and suspension geometries or damage critical components which can reduce vehicle safety or generate extra running costs, safety experts have warned.
By ensuring wheels are correctly aligned, drivers can minimise the effects of any pothole damage and ensure they remain as safe as possible.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of Tyresafe, said: “The recent bad weather will inevitably increase the number of potholes we see on our roads which can cause a number of serious safety issues for drivers.
“If a car’s wheels are not correctly aligned it may pull to one side or cause vibrations in the steering wheel which can be distracting and make the vehicle difficult to control.”
According to the AA, last February’s heavy snow increased insurance claims for pothole damage by more than 250 percent. With the current prolonged spell of snow and freezing conditions, road damage is expected to be even worse this year.
As well as the safety benefits offered by correct wheel alignment, motorists can also reduce their running costs.
When a vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned, it is less likely to suffer from premature tyre wear as the tyres point in the correct direction, reducing any ‘scrubbing’ action on the road surface. This also helps to reduce the rolling resistance of the tyres meaning that fuel costs are also reduced.
If a tyre has been damaged by driving over a pothole, cuts and bulges are tell-tale signs that it has have suffered some serious internal damage making it unsafe and illegal.