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AAA Offers Safety Tips For Dealng With Potholes

Cycle of freezing and thawing has wreaked havoc on Illinois roads

AURORA, Ill., (March 16, 2022) — As Illinois's rollercoaster winter weather continues, the brutal cycle of heavy snow, freezing temperatures and the upcoming warming trend is a perfect recipe for more potholes to pop up on Illinois roads.

A new survey from AAA found that last year 1 in 10 drivers sustained vehicle damage significant enough to warrant a repair after hitting a pothole. With an average price tag of almost $600 per repair, damage caused by potholes cost drivers a staggering $26.5 billion in 2021 alone.

Cracked and crumbling pavement is the perfect environment for potholes to form. Moisture collects in these crevices and as temperatures fluctuate, it expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole. These concrete craters can wreak havoc on a vehicle's tires, alignment, suspension and shocks.

"In many parts of the state, winter roads will likely give way to pothole-laden obstacle courses," said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA—The Auto Club Group. "When a vehicle hits a pothole with any kind of force, the tires, wheels and suspension get the brunt of the impact and fixing any of those items may be pricey."

To aid motorists in protecting their vehicles from pothole damage, AAA recommends the following:

  • Be aware on the roadways; what may look like a slight puddle of water may very well be a deep pothole.
  • Have your tires checked to make sure they are properly inflated. Maintaining the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure is the best shield between your vehicle and a pothole.
  • Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it's important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this won't cause a collision or endanger nearby pedestrians or cyclists.
  • Slow down - If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components.
  • If you hit a pothole, pay attention to any new or unusual noises or vibrations. If you detect something is off with your vehicle, take it to a trusted repair facility for a full vehicle inspection as soon as possible.

Additional reminders:

  • Always travel with a cell phone and car charger.
  • Road service requests can be submitted online at www.aaa.com or through the AAA mobile app device.

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