As the snow and ice melt, potholes are popping up in the pavement faster than the early spring flowers.
Heavy snow, winter floods and wide temperature swings have made 2019 one of the worst pothole seasons in history, according to AAA. Now, drivers face severe damage to their vehicle if they hit one of these concrete craters.
Potholes are formed by water, wear and tear, freeze-thaw cycles, excessive heat and time. The areas that are most prone to pothole development are where drainage is poor (specifically road dips), where vehicular traffic is greatest (especially heavy vehicle traffic) and where poor maintenance allows small cracks to worsen.
The average driver spends $600 annually to repair vehicle damage caused by potholes and other poor road conditions, and that figure will only get worse, according to AAA and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Repairs typically involve fenders, front bumpers, tires, shock absorbers, suspension systems, struts, rims, wheel alignment and catalytic converters. While potholes can cause hundreds and even thousands of dollars in damage to vehicles, 63 percent of Americans do not have the cash on hand to pay for those repairs, according to www.pothole.info.
CARSTAR repairs thousands of vehicles from pothole-related incidents each spring. Dean Fisher, chief operating officer for CARSTAR, offers the following tips on avoiding potholes and repairing the pothole damage.
Drive Defensively to Avoid Damage
• Leave enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, which allows you to see the oncoming potholes before potentially striking them.
• Be aware of other traffic or pedestrians on the roads before swerving to avoid a pothole.
• Lower your speed on pothole-filled roads. More damage can be incurred to a vehicle striking potholes at higher speeds, including compromised handling of the vehicle.
• Don't apply the brakes when driving over a pothole. This tilts the vehicle forward and places the amount of stress on the front suspension, which is the first part of the vehicle to strike the pothole.