Manhole covers and swerving

Many a time I have seen people in front of me jerk their steering wheel one way or another to avoid going over a manhole cover. I have often wondered which is the lesser of two evils:

1. Driving over the manhole cover and possibly dip down into the road while doing so?

2. Jerk the steering wheel so far one way or the other that you avoid the manhole?

Just wondering.

3. One Shouldn’t Follow The Vehicle In Front Of Them So Closely That When The Manhole Cover Appears, It Becomes Necessary To Swerve Abruptly. I Miss Them, But Not By Swerving, But Rather Gently Changing Course.

Many problems are caused by drivers who tailgate other vehicles and this is just one example.

By the way, “manhole cover” is an offensive term to some of our more sensitive neighbors. They prefer The term “utility hole cover.”



It is a matter of how bad they are and how close you are. Normally I move a little to miss them, but if they suddenly appear from under the car in front of me, I will go over them before making some sudden change.

Around here, when they repave the streets, they don’t bother to scrape off the old layer first. They just keep adding layer after layer over the years. That ends up making the manhole covers as much as 6 inches lower than the road surface - - basically a nice, deep pothole.

So hell yes I swerve to avoid them if I don’t see 'em in time, assuming there’s no one next to me that I’ll hit if I do.

[i]But officer, that manhole came out of nowhere![/i]

I agree the answer is:


Good drivers look ahead, plan ahead, and pay attention, and manholes can’t move fast enough that they should surprise anyone.

Personally, I try to avoid obstacles like deep manhole covers and potholes with smooth controlled steering, but when I can’t, jerking the steering wheel isn’t the resolution to my problem. Paying attention and keeping a safe following distance is the solution to my problem.

Jerking the wheel is what you do when a kid runs out in front of your car. (I would include animals in this statement, but sometimes hitting the animal is the best choice, depending on the situation.) Jerking the wheel shouldn’t be necessary to avoid stationary obstacles.

[b][i]Whitey, I Could Swear That We’re In Agreement, Again. What’s Going On Here ?



For some, they don’t even care if there’s someone next to them.
I was in the left lane in town one day and noticed an Explorer trying to move into my lane, even though I was side by side to it. My mom was with me and noticed they were trying to get over to avoid going over the grates on the side of the road. The grates aren’t pot holed like shadow’s manhole covers, but generally flush with the road.

Thanks everyone for the comments - my first time posting a question! Just to clarify - I’m not following so closely to someone that I’m the one that swerves abruptly. I just happened to notice that when people are driving, sometimes they jerk the steering wheel rather violently to avoid a utility hole cover (that better, CSA? LOL) or even a pothole. I didn’t know which was worse for the car, jerking the steering wheel (and possibly causing an accident) or riding over the road obstacle and hope your car is in one piece afterwards! I pretty much grit my teeth and hope for the best if I can’t avoid it.

Jerking the steering wheel cannot harm the car unless the end result involves a tree, another car, a truck, or a bridge abuttment.

A recessed manhole can and in some cases does cause damage to a car, depending on the car and the manhole cover.

Those people that have to react suddenly to manholes are, IMHO, not leaving enough room between the car in front of them and themselves or are not paying attention…whoops, excuse me, I have a text message coming in…

Speed up! Glide over the whole effortlessly. :sunglasses:

By the way, “manhole cover” is an offensive term to some of our more sensitive neighbors. They prefer The term “utility hole cover.”

Sort of like the change they made when I delivered mail. Mailman became “letter carrier” ?

Hitting “wholes” at high speed is much better than hitting them at low speed … [i][u]NOT![/i][/u]

P.S.- The word you were looking for was “hole.”

By the way, “manhole cover” is an offensive term to some of our more sensitive neighbors. They prefer The term “utility hole cover.”

We tried eliminating sexist language in my part of the country. We decided to call them “Personhole Covers” but found that offensive to some people because the last three letters of “person” is “son”. We then decided to call them “Humanhole Covers”, but met with the same objection since the last three letters of “human” is “man”. We finally found an acceptable name “Huperhole Covers”–“huper” takes the first two letters from “human” and the first three letters from “person”. Now that we have made everyone happy, we are proceeding ahead as to the best thing to do 1) drive over the huperhole cover or 2) jerk the wheel and miss the huperhole cover.

We had to vote against “utility hole cover” since we would have had to inspect every huperhole cover and be certain that they were indeed covering utilities.

Perhaps he was thinking Wholistically (sic–sort of) !


Perhaps Phoenix I think it was dropped the PC (political correctness) bomb by officially naming manholes sewer viewers. 99% of the time they are not a problem. Only followed shortly by (some city)in Ca banning master and slave references to hard drives

I have a name for people who are so PC that they demand that the term “manhole cover” be considered sexist. Ironically, my name for them ends in “hole”.

Most of these objectore are “wopersons”, but some are male humans!

Not really a manhole cover, but yesterday I about had someone rear end me when the vehicle in front of me pretty much came to a complete stop to go over a little patch of rough road from where the city has been redoing some sewer pipes and haven’t gotten it all smoothed over yet. The patch of road was MAYBE 2 feet across and was nothing more than a little uneven patch of stone, there are potholed roads that are rougher than this part of the street, but they still felt the need to come to a complete stop so their tires wouldn’t bounce. The kicker is that they were driving a Rav4. If it was a Miata or Civic or an old muscle era car, I could see, but a small SUV that looked to only be a couple years old is just nuts.

In the “rare” instance that I find myself faced with the choice of swerve or hit the manhole, I will usually go with hit the manhole, because swerving is just asking for trouble. The exception is when I know for sure that there’s no one next to me.

And in the industry, we call them Manholes.

One winter…driving on I-495…this jerk was right on my butt…I’m in the far right lane…I was there to take the exit to I-93 N…This guy was so close I could barely see his windshield…we’re doing about 65…I knew there was this pot-hole that kept opening up (state fixed it at least 5 times in a month period) right at the top of the exit…So I’m approaching the exit…and I see that it had opened up again…I went right over it doing about 50 with my 4runner…The idiot behind me in his Civic went right over it too…but he wasn’t so lucky…I looked in my rear-view mirror and he was pulling off the road…I went around the clover-leaf just to see what happened (kinda sic - I know)…and as I drove slowly by his car…I saw the car heading in one direction, but his left front wheel pointing about 90 degrees to the left…I just laughed and drove on.