Rain, snow, and winter weather often leave behind some pernicious remnants for drivers during this time of year. These remnants, known as potholes, are not just simple inconveniences on the road. In fact, they cause billions of dollars in damages annually and can lead to significant expenses for car owners. One such individual who experienced the costly consequences of a pothole is Tanya Shearer.
Shearer was driving on a recent rainy day when she unexpectedly collided with an enormous pothole that was concealed by rainwater. The impact was so forceful that she compared it to a gunshot, causing her dashboard lights to illuminate. Not only did this massive pothole destroy her right front tire, but it also affected several other drivers as well. Shearer even captured a video on her phone, showcasing the damage inflicted on two different vehicles.
However, the true shock came the following day when Shearer discovered that she not only needed to replace her tire (costing $400) but also her alloy wheel. Including alignment and other minor repairs, the grand total for fixing her car amounted to a staggering $2,608. It is an exorbitant price to pay for the aftermath of an unfilled pothole.
Jeff Bartlett, the auto managing editor for Consumer Reports, sheds light on why such repairs can be exorbitant. He explains that potholes damage approximately one in ten cars on the road each year. Furthermore, the prevalence of alloy rims and low-profile performance tires has significantly increased the cost of repairs. What once cost $200 a decade ago can now easily reach $2,000, as Shearer discovered. Bartlett emphasizes that the damage caused by potholes extends beyond the tire and can affect the wheel and suspension as well. He advises drivers to be vigilant for other indications of damage, such as new vibrations or changes in the car’s performance, and to have their vehicles inspected by a mechanic if necessary.
To protect their cars from pothole-related damages, Bartlett offers several recommendations. Firstly, he advises maintaining tire pressure at the recommended levels. Secondly, leaving ample space between vehicles allows drivers to anticipate and react to obstacles, such as potholes. If a pothole is spotted, Bartlett suggests safely maneuvering around it or, if that is not possible, reducing speed. However, he cautions against suddenly slamming on the brakes, as this can exacerbate the risk of damage to the front tires. Lastly, Bartlett encourages drivers to file reports regarding potholes, regardless of whether they were directly affected or not. By doing so, they contribute to the improvement of road conditions and potentially help others avoid costly repairs.
As Shearer discovered, the expense associated with repairing pothole-related damages is significant. However, there is some good news for affected drivers. In certain cases, reimbursement for repair bills may be possible if the pothole had been reported but not repaired. To pursue reimbursement, individuals can file a complaint with the municipality where the incident occurred or with the state’s highway department if it took place on an interstate highway. Some cities even have dedicated pothole reporting lines, further facilitating the process. By taking these steps, drivers can potentially recoup their expenses and ensure their money is not wasted on unforeseen road hazards.
In conclusion, the menace of potholes poses a substantial financial burden on drivers each year. Tanya Shearer’s experience serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of vigilance and proactive measures. By maintaining tire pressure, remaining attentive on the road, and promptly reporting potholes, drivers can protect themselves and potentially receive reimbursement for damages caused by these treacherous road hazards.