How are Potholes Created?

 
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Potholes have been causing major damage and stress to drivers all over the country for years and years. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can cause different types of damages.

These structural failures happen when the road fails to support the traffic on top of it. During the winter, snow, rain, and salt, seep through the pavement. This creates a wearing away in the foundation. As the seasons change, the ground freezes, then defrosts again. When water freezes, it expands. This expansion, expands the pavement, and as vehicles drive over it, it cracks and shifts.

Potholes can cause serious injury. Swerving to avoid a pothole can cause more damage than slowing down to hit it. But hitting a pothole straight on, at full speed can cause your entire tire to come off. If you do hit a pothole it is important to immediately check your vehicle for any visible damage, which may need to be addressed immediately.

The Damages that Potholes Can Cause:

Rim damage

Your aluminum-based rims are already prone to damage and dents. If you hit a deep pothole at a significant speed, it is likely that your rim will be bent as a result of that. You can take your vehicle to a professional tire shop, to have the damages assessed.

Suspension damage

Your car’s suspension is actually there to absorb impact, such as hitting a pothole, but there is only so much the suspension system can do. Damage to the suspension can cause your steering wheel to be misaligned, your car pulls away from you in one direction, weird noises, etc. The suspension can be realigned by a professional mechanic, because it is not always easy to identify the exact problem.

Tire puncture and damage

Damage from a pothole can result in needing to have your entre tire replaced, depending on the severity. A sidewall bulge or separated tread are examples of severe damage that would need immediate attention. To minimize the damage your tires could have when driving over a pothole, be sure to always keep your tires inflated properly.

Exhaust system damage

Your exhaust system is underneath your car, and hitting a pothole can cause some major damage to it. It is possible to hear strange noises and even complete shut off of the vehicle, if it is punctured. A hole in an exhaust pipe can also cause a leak that can allow fumes into you vehicle, and make you super sick.

Bumper damage

If you drive a sports car, or your vehicle’s bumper sits lower than most cars, you will likely have bumper damage if you hit a pothole. This damage is usually cosmetic in nature, so your vehicle is still drivable. The damage can cause a few scrapes, the worst case scenario, is that it causes the entire bumper to come off. That really depends on how hard you hit the pothole, how fast you were driving, and how deep the pothole was.

Living with Potholes

Potholes are such a big deal, that they have become a topic for politicians to discuss at their rallies. Politicians and government officials are in charge of the public’s safety at all times. Potholes make the roads unsafe. On average, Americans spend $3 billion a year to fix their vehicles after coming into contact with a pothole.  Therefore, it is up to you to make sure that yourself and your vehicle in safe driving condition. Make sure that your tires have the appropriate amounts of air in them. Always leave a good distance between your vehicle, and the one in front of you. And when driving in inclement weather, always be sure to drive slower than the speed limit, and use your bright lights if necessary.

Your local city clerk’s office or the office of the secretary of state, may be able to help you get some money back for your damages. Typically, you’d find and fill out a damage claim form, get a few written estimates from professional mechanics or receipt of the repair, and file a police report. You would then send all of these documents in to the office of the clerk/claim’s department. This is a long process, and can take some months to be sorted out. That’s why it might be best to get the damages repaired on your own first, if you can, then send the city a bill to reimburse you for it.

Also, check with your insurance company, to see if pothole damage is covered under your policy. Some insurance companies will cover any damage incurred by hitting an object. If you choose not to file a claim with the city, your insurance company is your next best bet to get your damage paid for. Generally speaking, insurance companies don’t usually cover damage to tires, but if your bumper is severely damaged and so is your tire due to the pothole, then the tire damage would most likely be covered.

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