Potholes Cost American Drivers Billions

A new survey from AAA finds that last year 1 in 10 drivers sustained vehicle damage significant enough to warrant a repair after hitting a pothole. With an average price tag of almost $600 per repair, damage caused by potholes cost drivers a staggering $26.5 billion in 2021 alone.

As states receive an influx of funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, AAA urges government officials and departments of transportation to focus on improving road conditions, prioritizing those areas most in need of repair.

“When a vehicle hits a pothole with any kind of force, the tires, wheels and suspension can sustain expensive damage,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr. of AAA Northeast.

Poor pavement is the perfect environment for the formation of potholes and our region has a lot.

Water collects in crevices and expands with freeze/thaw cycles. This loosens the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing vehicles, especially heavy trucks, eventually results in a pothole. Damage to a vehicle’s tires, alignment, suspension and shocks results.

In the winter and spring of 2021, AAA responded to 1.8 million tire-related roadside assistance calls nationwide.

In New York state during spring of last year, AAA responded to more than 135,000 roadside assistance calls with flat tires the top reason for service requests with more than 41,000.

While potholes are a reality for many drivers, sustaining vehicle damage does not have to be.

AAA recommends the following:

Check Your Tires. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month using a quality gauge.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road, an alert and cautious driver is less likely to hit a pothole. Scan the road ahead for potholes. Standing water or puddles may disguise a deep pothole. Avoid driving through standing water when possible but if you can’t, drive through slowly and treat them as though there may be potholes hiding beneath the water.

There may be times when you cannot avoid hitting a pothole. In that case, safely reduce your speed as much as possible and avoid braking abruptly. Striking a pothole at higher speeds increases the chance of severe damage including knocking the wheels out of alignment, affecting the steering and bending or even breaking suspension components.

If you hit a pothole, pay attention to any new or unusual noises or vibrations. If something seems unusual, take the vehicle to a qualified repair technician. Drivers should consider a wheel and tire warranty for added security and savings.

AAA Northeast is a nonprofit auto club with 71 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than six million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance and auto-related services.

Use our online request system for easy and convenient roadside service:

AAA.com/GetMoving or through the AAA app

-Submitted by AAA Northeast

Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

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