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Navigating Pothole Season

Get ready for brutal pothole conditions this spring. As anyone living in Montgomery County or Bucks County, Pennsylvania knows, winters wreak havoc on our highways and local streets. This year may be especially bad for potholes for a few reasons:

  • The winter of 2019/2020 was fairly mild. With less snow, ice, and treatments for snow and ice, the roads didn’t break down as much last winter. That set us up for more road problems this winter.
  • There was minimal traffic last spring. Governor Wolf issued the first pandemic response measures last March, and traffic was extremely light for a few months while schools were closed and people began working from home. Traffic is much closer to normal volume this spring.
  • We had a harsh winter this year with heavy snowfall. Our roads are suffering the consequences of heavy plow and salt activity.

Can I Report Potholes So They Get Fixed?

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) encourages motorists to join in the effort to call attention to dangerous potholes in our region. Call 1-800-FIX-ROAD or go to the website to report damaged roads. If you see spots that are especially bad, share that information with your local Nextdoor and Facebook groups so that others can avoid the worst roads.

I Hit a Pothole and Now My Car is Damaged

Pothole accidents are especially frustrating and can damage your tires, rims, and alignment. If your car is not stuck, carefully maneuver to the side of the road, turn on your hazard blinkers, and make sure it is safe before you exit your car. If your car insurance policy has roadside assistance, this is the time to use it. Many of our car insurance policies offer roadside assistance, but if you aren’t sure whether or not your policy contains it, find out and consider adding it before you need it. 

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Risk Insurance Management does not pay for property damages incurred on state-owned roads. Motorists have a right to file a claim, however, and the state may pay for injuries sustained from hitting a pothole.

Practice Safe Driving to Avoid Potholes

While not every pothole is easy to identify and avoid, there are steps drivers can take to prevent driving through most of them. First, keep your eyes on the road and don’t look away at distractions. Whether glancing at your phone, the radio, or someone else in the car, looking away from the road could cost you the time it takes to maneuver away from a damaged part of the road. Also, obey traffic laws and speed limits. If you are speeding, it’s far more difficult to slow down and safely avoid driving through potholes. Finally, even though it may be instinctive, be careful not to swerve into the oncoming lane of traffic to miss a pothole. This could cause you to lose control of your car, hit an oncoming vehicle, or harm your passengers.

While pothole season is no fun, remember that it’s a sign of spring and sunshine. Before you head out on the road to enjoy that warmer weather, give us a call to find out if your car insurance policy has the best coverage!