5 Tips for Staying Safe on the Road During Pothole Season
Growing up in Pennsylvania, we had a saying: There are three seasons- winter, pothole, and construction. As we near pothole season, here are five tips from Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) about how to stay safe on the roads:
- Keep an eye on traffic patterns. A number of cars that slows down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.
- Avoid the urge to swerve out of the way of a pothole at the last minute. You may swerve into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Risking damage to your car is wiser than risking the loss of your life or that of another person.
- Report potholes to your state or local transportation department. Some states and localities have pothole hotlines. Motorists who think their state or local government will pay for damage to their cars may be out of luck. Laws in this area vary by jurisdiction and, even where such remedies are available, conditions may apply such as a requirement that the jurisdiction had notice of the pothole.
- If you hit a pothole and suspect damage, pull over as soon as it is safe. If you notice damage, record details and specific damage—just as you would in the event of a collision with another motorist—in case you need to file an insurance claim.
- Check in at least annually with your independent insurance agent to ensure that you have the right coverage.
Why is making sure that you have the “right” coverage so important? A 2014 survey commissioned by Trusted Choice® and IIABA revealed that 31% of car owners who reported pothole damage to their vehicles filed a claim with their insurance company. A surprising 65% of respondents who needed repairs said they (or a third party) paid out of pocket for the vehicle to be fixed. Only about 3% said local authorities stepped in to foot the bill. For about 40% of respondents, that bill was more than $500.
“This survey highlights how widespread the pothole problem is on our roadways and that the costs are enormous to both the insurance industry and to consumers,” says Madelyn Flannagan, IIABA vice president of agent development, research and education. “And now, local authorities are struggling to keep up with the extensive road repairs.”