AAA estimates that motorists will spend nearly $5 billion on car repairs this year because of damage caused by potholes. Each year motorists file some 500,000 auto insurance claims for pothole damage, according to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.
Potholes seem to appear out of nowhere. Winter weather conditions create the perfect environment for potholes to develop. When temperatures fall, the road freezes and when temperatures rise, the road thaws. While this is happening, ice and water cause damage beneath the road’s surface. Eventually the surface of the road, falling victim to the erosion that has occurred beneath the surface, caves in. A pothole is born. Over time, even the smallest pothole can get wider and deeper. The results can be large craters that pose a tremendous hazard to motorists.
To protect your vehicle against potholes, AAA advises:
- If you can’t avoid pothole, slow down. Hitting one at high speed increases chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts or springs.
- Don’t brake when directly over a pothole! This causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the wheel and can increase damage.
- Beware of puddles! Water can disguise any problem with road surface. Treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.
- Hitting a pothole can knock a car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If this happens to you – get alignment checked!
- When driving over a pothole-filled road, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.
- Recognize Noises. A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.
- Stay alert and look ahead! Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid them.
Potholes also drain the pocketbooks and wallets of the vehicle owner. Costs for repairing damage caused by potholes can range from $80 for a simple wheel alignment to $500 or more for replacing a top-of-the-line alloy wheel. In some cases, damage for poor road conditions can add up to $2,000 or more in repair costs over the life of a car, insurance agents say. Compounding matters, vehicle suspension and steering components may also be affected.
Clearly, potholes can cause extensive damage. If you hit a pothole, give us a call and set up your FREE alignment check appointment. We’ll have a look. If your vehicles alignment is fine we’ll let you know. If your vehicle is out of alignment, we will advise you before any work is done.
We also recommend that you report the pothole. Many municipalities have pothole reporting lines. The New York State Department of Transportation has one, as well; just call 1-800-POTHOLE and report the location (they serve WNY including the counties of Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus). They can also assist with filing a claim. You will be doing yourself – and other motorists – a big favor.Top