Extreme weather conditions can cause potholes to rear their ugly heads. Traveling to work or the grocery store, you know exactly where they are. But there’s always one lying in wait for the unsuspecting driver, and that’s when it can get expensive and even dangerous.
The damage caused to your car when hitting a pothole is also causing damage to consumers’ pocketbooks. Repair costs typically range from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the damage. This list identifies some of the damage that can be caused when a car hits a pothole.
• Tire puncture;
• Bent rims;
• Suspension damage;
• Steering knocked out of alignment;
• Exhaust system damage; and
• Engine damage.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), damage to your car caused by a pothole may be covered if you have collision coverage on your auto insurance policy. To learn more, check out their article, “Does My Auto Insurance Cover Damage Caused by Potholes?”
If you have other coverage questions, please look at your policy or contact your agent.
Here are five tips to help you avoid potholes.
1. Keep your eyes peeled.
Constantly scan the road and be aware of what’s in front of you; put the phone down.
2. Keep a safe following distance.
You don’t know how the driver in front of you will react if they see a pothole. If you keep a safe following distance, you can brake safely and have a better view of what lies ahead.
3. Don’t swerve.
While swerving may feel right, it could put you in more danger. You could veer into the oncoming lane of traffic or cause your tire(s) to hit the pothole at an angle, which could result in more damage. If you can’t safely avoid it, gently brake before the pothole, release the brake at the pothole, and take it head-on.
4. Watch your speed.
Slow down if you’re driving on a road that looks like it’s been in a war. If the road is that bad, consider finding an alternate route. Pull over and check the map on your smartphone or the good ole paper map in your glove compartment.
5. Watch out for water.
Water can collect in a pothole, making it impossible to see. I once drove through one, and water splashed over the hood of my car and onto my windshield, making it hard to see.
If you hit a pothole and believe your car was damaged, please pull over at a safe location. Please do NOT pull over on the highway or a busy roadway and try to look over the damage. If you can’t reach a safe place, remain seated in your car, your seat belt fastened and call for help. While you may be scared or frustrated, remain calm until help arrives.
Lastly, if you live in a warm weather climate, you may think potholes result from frigid winters. The reality is that potholes can form anywhere. And if you travel by golf cart, bodily injury and considerable damage can occur. Again, the best remedy is to stay alert when you’re driving.
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This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice. Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance. Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility. All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.