Pothole Season Is Upon Us

As winter drags towards spring, you're likely to notice that your daily drive is getting a little bumpier (or maybe a lot bumpier). Pothole season is upon us.

A pothole can form when water seeps into cracks and crevices in a road surface that has suffered wear and tear from passing traffic. When low temperatures arrive, the water pooled under the roadway surface freezes, and the ice expands beneath the pavement to force a section of the roadway upward. This bump in the road gets pulverized by every car that hits it, eventually reducing the affected section of the roadway to rubble. As that rubble is scattered, it leaves a gap in the road surface - a pothole.

Some potholes are easy to spot and avoid, but others can remain hidden until you're on top of them. Hitting a sufficiently large pothole at speed can disable your vehicle. A high speed impact with the edge of a deep pothole can rupture and rapidly deflate your tire, knock your vehicle's steering out of alignment, bend or fracture a wheel, and even cause suspension or frame damage. Any of these issues requires immediate attention from a service professional.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Americans file 500,000 pothole-related insurance claims per year and spend a whopping $4.8 billion per year on pothole-related damage. Damage from potholes will typically fall below the limits of most auto insurance deductibles, but many insurance policies will assist in paying for more serious pothole damage. Check with your insurance broker to make sure road damage isn't excluded from your coverage.

[Photo credit: Michael Gil, used under CC-by-2.0 license]

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