Things that go bump in the night

October 31, 2014 • Driving Tips

The danger of potholes

Never mind Halloween ghouls and ghosts, one of the scariest things facing drivers at this time of the year is hitting a pothole while driving in the dark.

Potholes become an increasing safety hazard in the winter as they are caused when water in cracks on the road expands in freezing temperatures. To avoid getting spooked by potholes, follow this advice:

Tips to minimise the danger of potholes

• Be vigilant: Look out for potholes, especially in wet weather when potholes may be hidden beneath puddles, and watch your speed

• Keep your distance: Leave an adequate gap between your car and the vehicle in front so you can see any potholes in advance

• Avoid sudden braking: Try not to apply the brakes when driving over a pothole as it will put more stress on the front suspension

• Hold the steering wheel correctly: If you don’t, you could lose control of your vehicle when driving over a deep pothole

• Stay alert: Be aware of other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians before changing direction to avoid a pothole. But avoid big swerves

What can I do if my car is damaged by a pothole?

• Inspect it: If you need to see if there is any damage to your vehicle, pull over in a safe place

• Collect evidence: Make notes on the pothole’s exact location, size and depth and take a picture of it

• Report it: Most local authorities have websites that allow you to notify them about potholes

• Get your vehicle checked: Visit your Mercedes-Benz dealer who will examine the tracking and wheel alignment, tyres and suspension

• Make a claim: Write to the relevant authority, citing all your evidence, and ask them to compensate you for the damage to your vehicle. But be aware, it could take a long time, and many claims are rejected

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