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  • Beware The Dreaded Pothole and Tips On How To Safely Avoid Them

    Beware The Dreaded Pothole and Tips On How To Safely Avoid Them

    State Farm is sharing tips on how you can avoid potholes. They're a particular problem in areas that have experienced extreme weather like the heavy rains, flooding, record snowfall and historically low temps we've seen in many parts of the country recently.   

    If you hit a pothole, you can wind up with a costly repair. Last year we shared a study from the American Automobile Association that found 1 in 10 drivers who hit a pothole in 2021 sustained damage significant enough to need vehicle repairs. The average price tag for each repair? Almost $600.  Add it all up and AAA says vehicle-related damage from potholes cost U.S. drivers $26.5 billion in 2021 alone.  

    You're likely to see more potholes during the first few months of the year when temps fluctuate between hot and cold.  The freezing and thawing cycles allow moisture to seep into the road surface, which causes the road to crumble.

     “In many parts of the country, winter roads will likely give way to pothole-laden obstacle courses,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering. “When a vehicle hits a pothole with any kind of force, the tires, wheels and suspension get the brunt of the impact and fixing any of those items is pricey.”

    The good news is that more automakers are introducing available technology that can detect uneven road surface conditions like potholes and things like speed bumps, and alert drivers.

    But there are things drivers can do as well to help avoid potholes and costly repairs. Here are some tips from State Farm shares these tips to make driving smoother and safer.

    What can I do to avoid damage from potholes?

      • Pump it up. State Farm reminds us that keeping our tires properly inflated may reduce damage. You really don't want under-inflated tires if you hit a pothole since the impact is much more likely to cause damage to tires, rims and suspension.
      • Slow down.  Always travel at a safe speed for the road condition and keep your eyes on the road. Doing both will help you avoid the damage that can come with hitting a pothole.
      • Stay in your lane. If you see a pothole ahead, avoid sudden swerving to avoid it because you could lose control of your vehicle
      • Pay it forward. If you notice a road that has potholes, you can report the roadway hazard to your local city or county transportation department so they are aware of the issue.

    REPORTING POTHOLES in CarPro Radio Show Markets

    Some cities like Houston have a pothole tracker.  Portland, Oregon has one too, You can report potholes in Fort Worth, Texas here.  In Dallas, to report a pothole, call 311 when dialing from inside the city limits or (214) 670-5111 when dialing from outside the city limits. Hazardous potholes are repaired with 24 hours.
    Report pothole issues in Granbury, Texas, here. The city of Lubbock, Texas has an app you can use, or you can call 311. For pothole reporting info in Abilene, TX click here.
    Here's where you can find pothole into for Austin, San Antonio, Stockton, CA, Sacramento, CA and Montgomery, AL. If you live in Los Angeles, you can report pothole damage here.
    In Cleveland, Ohio, you'll find pothole information here. In Atlanta, call 311 to report one in your neighborhood. Click here for more info.  
    In the DC area you can also report one at 311 - click here for info and a pothole map. For info on reporting potholes in Hagerstown, MD click here.


    How do I know if a pothole caused damage?

    There are some telltale signs that your vehicles has been damaged by a pothole, especially if it's a big one.  You could wind up with damage to your vehicle's steering, suspension and alignment. State Farm says some signs of pothole damage might include a pulling sensation in one direction, dents in your tires or rims, or low tire pressure.

    Is damage from potholes covered by insurance?

    State farm says pothole damage is usually covered with collision coverage, minus the deductible. Since the pothole damage your vehicle may incur could fall below the amount of your deductible, typically $500 or $1,000, it may not always be practical to file a claim. Of course everyone's policy varies so CarPro recommends checking with your insurance company to see the specifics of your policy.

    Can I get paid by my city or state for pothole damage?

    State Farm says some cities, counties, or states may pay for pothole damage in certain cases. You'll need to first determine which jurisdiction is responsible for the road with the pothole, then ask about any compensation available for damage. Remember to always take photos of the damage and if you can do so safely, the pothole.  State Farm also recommends getting an estimate or two and filing them with the claim. There could be a time limit to file one, so you don't want to wait.


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    Editor's note: This post was updated with new information on January 19, 2023.
    Image credit: O de R/Shutterstock.com.