Drivers Beware: It’s Pothole Season
According to AAA, pothole damage costs U.S. drivers an average of $3 billion annually. They can do a surprising amount of damage, ranging from popping your tires to causing alignment issues and even ruining your shocks. Pothole damage can lead to pricey and widespread vehicle repairs.
How Potholes Can Damage Your Car
AAA published a list of common car repairs that can result from poor roads:
- Pop your tires
- Bend tie rods
- Throw off the wheel alignment
- Bend the control arm
- Loosen ball joints
- Bend or damage wheel rims
- Ruin shocks/struts
“On average, American drivers report paying $300 to repair pothole-related vehicle damage,” said Pat Moody, Director of Public Affairs for AAA Northern New England. “Adding to the financial frustration, those whose vehicles incurred this type of damage had it happen frequently, with an average of three times in the last five years.”
There are best practices to follow when navigating potholes:
- Ensure your vehicle has a spare tire or a tire inflator kit.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. Tires are the only cushion between a pothole and a vehicle.
- Remain alert. Examine the road ahead and drive at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
- Maintain safe speeds. High speeds make it harder to keep control of a vehicle (especially if potholes or uneven surfaces are present).
- If you can’t avoid a pothole: slow down, release the brakes and straighten the steering wheel.
Covering the Damage
Unfortunately, pothole-related claims filed with government agencies (cities, townships, municipalities, etc.) are typically rejected.
The right kind – and amount – of auto insurance could provide significant out-of-pocket savings. In instances of pothole damage, collision insurance applies.
Collision coverage helps cover repair costs if you hit another vehicle or object. But, remember two important points. You are responsible for the deductible first and the claim will go on your insurance record.
Document, document, document. Whether you’re filing a claim through insurance or with a government agency, take lots of notes and pictures.
The Balance lists four important steps after hitting a pothole:
- Take a picture of the pothole.
- Take a picture of the vehicle damage.
- Note the date and time of the incident.
- Get at least two estimates.
Report Pothole Damage
If the Ohio Department of Transportation has jurisdiction in your area where the incident occurred, you can file a claim here.