Bad roads and potholes
The results of CAA’s 2021 Worst Roads survey are in, and while such designations tend to be relative, since they’re based on votes from the public, the quality of our roadways affect everyone.
When nominating a road they believed deserved the title, voters blamed potholes and crumbling pavement (81%) for their pick, followed by traffic congestion (11%) and little to non-existent pedestrian infrastructure (7%).
What may or may not surprise you is the fact poor road infrastructure costs drivers an extra $126 a year in maintenance. In a CAA study released earlier this year, it was said the average Canadian driver incurs an extra $126 in costs annually due to the poor quality of roads. Specifically, fuel efficiency, wear-and-tear on your car’s tires, repair and maintenance, and depreciation was cited as being directly impacted by the state of the roads where you live.
What to do if a pothole damages your car
Potholes can cause some serious damage to cars and trucks, and many drivers look to their auto insurance for help to offset the cost of the damage. However, you’ll want to consider whether submitting an insurance claim for damage stemming from a pothole is worth it.
Hitting a pothole that causes damage to your vehicle is likely to be considered an at-fault collision as it’s a single-car accident. Additionally, you must have collision coverage to file a pothole claim (not everyone does, as it is optional). Before submitting a claim, you’ll want to factor in the cost of your deductible, your claims history, and the potential for premium increases. It might actually be better to pay for the damage out-of-pocket.
As an alternative to filing an insurance claim, many drivers seek reimbursement from the city where the pothole was located. Your claim will typically be considered in Ontario if the city (or municipality) failed to meet the minimum maintenance levels for the road.
In either case, document the damage as much as possible. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, and, provided it is safe to do so, the pothole itself.
Tips for avoiding damage from potholes
Your best bet for avoiding pothole-related damage is to avoid potholes altogether or take measures to lessen the blow they cause:
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated, as this can help mitigate damage.
- Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. That will give you the time needed to spot a pothole ahead and calmly and safely avoid it.
- If the pothole is unavoidable, slow down by taking your foot off the gas.
- Avoid braking while driving over a pothole, as this can cause additional damage.
- Hold firmly onto the steering wheel so you don’t lose control of your car.
- Take your car to a mechanic if you suspect any damage before it gets worse.