When it comes to taking driving lessons, participants are taught how to spot the dangers on the road. They are taught how to look for the things that could become a distraction and assess them quickly.
Driving instructors make a point of teaching their students how to pass their hazard perception tests, so it makes sense that the question has arisen as to whether learners should be taught how to avoid potholes during their driving tests.
What Is A Pothole?
A pothole is a deep crack in the surface of the road where the movement of vehicles has broken the surface over time. Potholes are dangerous for drivers to sail over because if the car bumps too hard over one, it can cause the vehicle to spin off and cause an accident. Poor road surfaces have been suggested to be included in the hazard perception test due to this damage.
Some drivers have no idea how to handle the car or themselves when they encounter a pothole. Learning how to avoid potholes in the first place may be one of the best driving lessons that driving instructors could give their students before their driving test.
Considering that one in five roads across England and Wales are in poor condition, knowing how to avoid them keeps learner drivers more vigilant about what’s ahead of them on the road.
What To Do If You Spot A Pothole
When you are being taken on one of your driving lessons by your driving instructor, you need to learn how to be careful of potholes. If you spot one, you must slow down if it’s necessary and watch the rearview mirror. Stay within your lane if you see a pothole in the street and avoid swerving away from the pothole if it’s going to cause big swerves.
Did you know that a survey that researched driving instructors found that they have broken down during lessons due to potholes and the damage caused by them?
It makes sense that introducing learners to potholes, the dangers, and how to avoid them is on the list of things to learn in driving lessons.
What Damage Can Potholes Cause?
The damage that potholes cause often affect wheels and suspension the most. The way the car dips dramatically at speed has an impact on the insurance, the confidence of the driver, and it affects how much money you have to spend on the car afterwards.
Lessons have been abandoned in the past because of breakdowns as a result of potholes, and this has an impact on both the confidence of the learner and the livelihood of the driver. Potholes are a severe issue for cars, and if drivers are supposed to pass tests based on real-world situations, then potholes should make an appearance.
It’s the most common hazard that is encountered during driving lessons, so much so, drivers country-wide are urged to photograph any potholes that become a problem. There are some common issues that potholes can cause, and these include:
- Flat Tyres. Tyres can burst on impact with a pothole as the sidewall of the tyre is the weakest part. When this is hit, the tyre pops and can cause the car to skid from the road.
- Suspension. We mentioned suspension damage already, and the impact on the tyre above can cause the suspension to reach its maximum travel, which makes it bottom out. There is also the chance that you may bend the components of the car.
- Tyre Dent Damage. Wheel damage is yet another way that potholes can wreck a car. The wheels can bend and crack, causing issues during the drive.
- Steering Wheel Alignment. A pothole can shift the alignment of the wheels. When this happens, the steering is also affected, and the tyres end up with increased wear.
- Swerve. A learner driver who tries to avoid a pothole at the last minute by swerving can cause untold damage by swerving into other road users.
What Do Driving Instructors Think?
Driving instructors are taught to teach others how to be safe while on the road. Not just for themselves, but for other road users and pedestrians, too.
The government is keeping tests under review, intending to improve the conditions of the road to avoid potholes in the first place. The other issue out there is that there are some driving schools that don’t believe that learning about potholes as a hazard is a good idea.
They argue that yes, potholes cause damage to vehicles, and yes, they are a hazard on the road. However, a hazard perception test cannot simulate real-life situations.
There’s a certain level of common sense required on the road, and some driving schools believe that this isn’t something that can be taught.
It’s a topic that will depend on the driving school as to whether it’s essential, but as potholes are such a hot topic across the board, it’s probably a good idea for the rules to change. Driving instructors should – of course – be teaching their students about potholes and their dangers, while they are taking them out for lessons. Teaching learners to observe and respond to hazards in the road safely often includes looking out for potholes.
It’s an important observation to make, and learners who are driving at the correct speed while aware of their surroundings will learn this quickly. When they do, pothole impacts should be minimal, and tests shouldn’t need to be abandoned because of their presence on the road.
The best possible advice that a learner driver can receive before their tests are how to avoid potholes and remain safe. Steering around a pothole is fine, as long as other road users and pedestrians are not at risk. Ideally, the government is going to fix the roads and the potholes that make them unsafe.
Until then, drivers must learn how to react and anticipate potholes while they are in their driving lessons. This way, they are safer individuals on the road for everyone.