You don’t even see it coming, but you absolutely notice when that pothole sends a jarring shake through your whole vehicle.
Traffic was tightly-packed around you. There was no way you could have missed it. While you didn’t necessarily make any driving mistakes, did you just do serious damage to your car?
Quite possibly. People often don’t realize just how bad it can be. Potholes can cause the following damage:
- Puncture your tire, giving you a flat.
- Damage your tire so that, while it doesn’t go flat instantly, it wears out far sooner than it should.
- Cause premature wear and tear on your struts and shocks.
- Damage and bend your rims.
- Break or damage your suspension.
- Damage your exhaust system.
- Cause your steering system to go out of alignment.
In the worst cases, your car could even suffer engine damage from a pothole.
Constant Wear and Tear
Perhaps the worst thing about potholes is that they’re constantly adding to the wear and tear on your vehicle. This adds up astoundingly over the years, causing parts to break down prematurely and systems to fail. People often don’t realize that potholes are the real issue, but the reality is that hitting them every day ages your car far faster. It’s a war of attrition, and the potholes are winning.
A Financial Nightmare
Just how bad is the problem? Some reports indicate that drivers in the United States have to shell out about $3 billion per year for pothole damage. Hitting a pothole isn’t just some minor annoyance that spills your coffee in your lap during your morning commute. Over time, it can literally tear your vehicle apart.
And that’s not the worst of it. Other reports claim the real cost was closer to $6.4 billion dollars in repairs for 2014 alone. That report called pothole strikes inevitable and unavoidable.
Part of the problem is that potholes really need to be repaired annually. Every impact from every tire makes the hole a bit bigger. Putting it off just makes the issue worse. However, when crews don’t get there fast enough or small potholes are ignored, cars keep racking up damage.
In some cases, a pothole could even cause a car accident. A driver swerves to avoid one on a four-lane road and sideswipes another car. A driver hits a pothole, has a tire blowout, and slams on the brakes; a second driver, not expecting the sudden stop, rear-ends that driver. It’s not just about minor damage to struts and shocks. The problem could extend all the way to driver safety.
Can drivers avoid damage? Possibly, but the advice often given doesn’t go all that far. For instance, some experts advise drivers to take the following steps to mitigate harm:
- Watch out for hazards.
- Slow down.
- Make sure their tires are properly inflated.
These things can help. Certainly, checking tire inflation is a good idea, especially during the colder months of the year.
However, advising drivers to watch out for potholes and to slow down really just acknowledges that the issue exists. Slowing down can limit damage, but not erase it. Watching out for potholes is helpful, but you can’t always avoid them. When traffic is heavy during rush hour, you can’t simply swerve out of your lane.
A Serious Risk
As you can see, potholes are far more of a risk than many drivers realize. It’s imperative to check your car’s alignment, tire inflation levels and the condition of the suspension all year round. But, as long as potholes don’t get fixed properly and swiftly, those checks may simply tell you how much of that $6.4 billion you’ll have to pay.
Ready to fix those winter potholes? Contact Action Asphalt today for a quote!