Blame the weather… The recent extreme temperature fluctuations are a recipe for potholes.
According to AAA, potholes make for precarious driving and a greater risk of breakdown. Southern West Virginia’s roads have been hit hard.
“It can cause tire damage, rim, even to your axel and the components that attach your tire to the axel,” said AAA Bluegrass public affairs manager Lori Weaver Hawkins. “And somebody could hit a pothole it may cause them to lose control of steering their vehicle, which can lead to another crash. Very dangerous for trying to drive safely and also can be costly.”
According to Hawkins, AAA found that one in 10 encounters with a pothole can result in damage bad enough that you have to get your vehicle repaired — averaging $600 per repair. Reach out to the West Virginia Claims Commission about that. The same is true with our city roads.
“Have a lot of pothole damage as well and city insurance companies would be the contact there,” she said. “Go through your city to see what can be done.”
Hawkins says avoiding hitting potholes in the first place can be difficult. Tires that aren’t in good road-ready condition are most susceptible to blowouts and damage. Address that before you head out. And if you know a route you take frequently has potholes, slow down. She has a few more suggestions…
“When you go on those higher rates of speed you’re hitting it with more impact and you can end up with more severe damage. Make sure that you’re not tailgating, that’s a bad habit anytime but when you’re tailgating someone — keeps you from seeing that roadway ahead of you in a sufficient amount of time to be able to slow down and possibly avoid a pothole,” said Hawkins. “A lot of times you think that there’s a puddle in the roadway or just some water sitting and it can be hiding a pothole.”
Make sure you have collision insurance so you’re prepared if you do end up with damage to your vehicle. If you pursue trying to get your repairs covered by the owner of the roadway, whether that’s the state, city or private property, be sure to keep detailed records — date, time, roadway location, and if it’s safe to do so… even photos and videos of the actual pothole.
“Use landmarks and intersections so you can be more precise about what occurred,” said the public affairs manager. “You want to have all your receipts for your damage; that helps you make your case. Do it as soon as the damage occurs.”
We usually get further into February and the start of March before there’s much to worry about with potholes.
“But it’s here early and in full force, so pothole season is upon us,” Hawkins said.