BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Potholes are a problem that affect almost everyone. They're rampant all across the United States and with the roads as bad as they are in California, they're pretty noticeable in Kern County.
As we move away from the winter months, the rainy season is here which brings a noticeable disturbance to our roads – potholes.
They can wreak havoc on your car if you hit one that is deep enough and they can ruin your tires, wheels and more. According to AAA, most pothole damages cost less than 250, but in some cases the bill can exceed $1000.
Not only can hitting them cause damage to your vehicle, but even trying to avoid them can cause a crash if you're not careful.
In order to make sure you can protect yourself and your vehicle from pothole damage, AAA has given a few tips.
Inspect Your Tires
Before heading out on any trip, make sure that your tires are properly inflated and have enough tread. Under-inflated or badly worn tires are more likely to suffer damage when hitting a pothole.
To check the tread depth, AAA suggests inserting a quarter into the tread groove with Washington’s head upside down. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
Make sure the struts, shock absorbers and other suspension parts are in good condition. Changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven tire wear can indicate damaged or worn components.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always stay vigilant while driving. When you're heading down a road, keep looking ahead to see if you notice any visible potholes or any drivers ahead of you swerving around things in the road.
If you notice one coming up and you plan to swerve around it, make sure you check surrounding traffic to avoid any collisions with other vehicles.
If you can't avoid hitting a pothole and you see one approaching, reduce your speed as safely as possible. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of vehicular damage.
Hitting potholes can knock the wheels out of alignment. If you notice your car pulling to the left or right after hitting one, have your alignment checked.
Recognize Noises and Vibrations
Running over a pothole can cause damage to a number of things to your vehicle, not limited to your tires. If you notice any new or unusual noises or vibrations, get your car looked at immediately.
If you see a pothole, report it.
According to the Bakersfield City website, there are three ways you can report one in Bakersfield.
You can call (661) 326-3111 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you need to call outside their work hours, there is a 24 hour pothole hotline that can be reached at (661) 326-7623 or you can report a pothole online at this link.