Braking hard for potholes causes more damage, study shows

Pothole on a road in the UK

When you see a pothole approaching on the road, do you immediately slam on the brakes? 

This is a natural reaction for many drivers, as we try to reduce the pothole’s impact on our vehicle as we pass over it. 

But did you know this could really be causing more harm than good? 

A study by eBay shows that maintaining a steady speed while going over craters in the road may actually be less damaging to your vehicle. 

Why a steady course beats a sudden stop 

The test findings revealed that reducing vehicle speed while passing through potholes causes the nose of the car to dip forward, particularly when travelling between 20mph and 30mph. 

eBay expert Hannah Gordon said: “While braking hard is an understandable reaction to seeing a pothole ahead, doing so causes the nose of the car to dive, as the weight transfers to the front axle of the vehicle. 

“This increases the load going through the front wheels and suspension, increasing your risk of sustaining damage. If possible, drivers should aim to steer around potholes altogether or come off the brakes before their car reaches the affected part of the road.” 

The series of tests took place at MIRA Technology Park, the UK’s most comprehensive automotive proving ground in Nuneaton. 

The UK’s pothole plight 

With potholes being more prevalent during the colder months of the year, Brits are being urged to drive with extra caution.  

Laura Richards of eBay UK said: “Pothole season is typically at its peak in spring, after the lowest winter temperatures have done their worst to Britain’s roads, so drivers should be on their guard at this time of year.” 

The RAC recently announced a rise in the number of pothole-related breakdowns, with 29,377 issues attended by the breakdown assistance provider. It represents a significant rise in the 22,095 pothole-related incidents attended in 2022. 

Is your vehicle in good condition for winter driving? If it needs some attention, consult your guide to winter car checks.


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