How to avoid pothole damage in Johannesburg

By Staff Writer
A pothole in the road can put your life in danger and cause thousands of rands worth of damage your vehicle. Although the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has called on independent contractors to help it repair the scores of potholes, the roads in Johannesburg are still in a terrible state as a result of years of neglect.

According to the JRA, the road maintenance backlog is estimated to be at R164 billion, of which R38 billion is needed to repair roads in major cities. These repairs are likely to take time so until then, Dial Direct urges road users to exercise caution.

Recently, a pothole on the corner of Beyers Naude Drive and Northumberland Road in Northcliff endangered the lives of motorists by forcing motorists to swerve dangerously into the slow lane to avoid hitting the metre-long pothole

Bradley Du Chenne, Dial Direct Insurance's spokesperson says: "Just because you emerge from the pothole without a flat tyre, don't assume that there is nothing wrong with your car. There could be future problems with your alignment or suspension. Watch out for the tell-tale signs - your car pulling to one side of the road while driving or your car bouncing excessively on a smooth road. The best way to avoid any of these problems is to simply steer clear of the pothole altogether, which is easier said than done although not impossible."

By adhering to the tips below, you can save yourself thousands of rands of damage to your vehicle and save on your insurance:

* Don't tailgate: If you are far enough behind the driver in front of you, you will have a better chance of taking an evasive maneuver with the extra space and avoid hitting the pothole.
* Slow down: By doing so, you will be able to act accordingly when you see a pothole ahead.
* Puddles contain hidden dangers: Use extreme caution when driving over puddles: what may appear as a level hole could contain a very deep pothole.
* Pay special attention to your tyre pressure: Keeping tyre pressure consistently at the manufacturer's recommendation. This will help protect your vehicle's wheels and tyres from being damaged by pothole impact.
* Hold the steering wheel tightly: Hold your steering wheel firmly and keep both hands on the wheel at all times. You don't want to be thrown off course by a stray pothole.
* If you're going to hit a pothole, don't brake: Your car's weight is distributed evenly between the front and rear axles. When you slow down or accelerate the weight distribution changes. When you brake, the front axle gets more weight, and when you accelerate, the rear axle gets more load. You have probably noticed that your car tilts forward when you brake, and tilts backwards when you accelerate. It does not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it is a big deal for your suspension. It is recommended that you release the brakes immediately before your car hits a pothole. When you brake heavily, your car tends to nose-dive. When you let off the brake, the car rocks back and you have more suspension over the front wheels, helping to absorb some of the blow.

In conclusion, Du Chenne says: "If you encounter a pothole, you should report it to the JRA as soon as possible by contacting 011 375 5555. By doing so, not only can you rest assured that it has been brought to the Government's attention for repair, but you could possibly save a life."

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