Potholes could cost billions in damage nationwide

FILE — A Montgomery County Department of Transportation official said four teams of crews are on pothole patrol all year, but the pace tends to pick up in the spring. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty, File)
Damage from potholes could cost billions this year

WTOP Staff | November 30, -0001 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — When winter passes, a new problem arises, the appearance of potholes on area roadways. Last year according to AAA, $3 billion dollars in damage to cars around the nation was caused by craters found on weather-beaten roads.

John Townsend with AAA Mid-Atlantic said in 2016, 30 million drivers around the nation found themselves in repair shops and got bills which ranged anywhere from $250 to more than a $1,000 in damage.

Townsend fears this year, the grand total for nationwide pothole damage could be even higher.

“Although we have had a relatively mild winter, we can expect a bumper crop of pot holes,” Townsend said.

With rough winters elsewhere in the nation, and a remaining potential for winter weather, drivers may shell out up to $5 billion to fix their pothole-damaged cars this year.

Townsend said the best way to avoid the repair shop is to properly respond to a pothole in the road. First and foremost, Townsend said, take your foot off the accelerator and tap the brakes to slow down before going through the damaged spot of road.

Never swerve last minute to avoid a pothole because that can cause a crash. Townsend said many instances of damage happen after drivers slam their brakes when striking a pothole.

“Not only will it damage the undercarriage, it will also damage the braking system,” he said.

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