Did you know that the City of Calgary does not – as a rule – inspect residential roads for potholes? Road workers inspect major roads and collector roads once a month, but rely on community members and City of Calgary crews to inform them of the rest.
Knowing this, and also knowing the kind of damage that potholes can inflict to vehicles, the best thing you can do when you spot a pothole is to report it right away. This will not only alert the proper people, but will also help out your fellow drivers. All car owners should be concerned with having potholes filled as soon as possible, as driving over them often will wear out your shocks and suspension, alter your steering and alignment, and generally negatively impact the overall condition and lifespan of your vehicle.
The Cause and Cost of Potholes
Potholes are formed when melted snow or water seeps down through cracks in asphalt, settles, and then freezes during the winter months. The ground then expands and weakens the surface. When spring (finally) arrives, the ice melts, the pavement collapses, and a bigger, deeper hole is the result.
The AMA Insider, quoting a 2016 CAA article, says that between 2011 and 2016, 23% of Albertans reported pothole-related damage to their vehicle at least twice. Red Deer fills from 10,000 to 14,000 potholes a year, while the larger city of Edmonton filled 670,000 potholes in the year 2017 alone. The same CAA article states that Canadians as a whole pay more than $1.4 billion per year in pothole damage repairs.
What Do I Do if I Run Over a Pothole?
No matter how hard we try as drivers, accidents happen. There are lots of reasons why drivers can’t avoid a pothole. Traffic and obstructions can make it impossible to swerve and avoid them in time, and they can often be difficult to see.
The impact from hitting a pothole can result in something as minor as a hard bump and a potentially lost hubcap, to one of those sickening bangs when you know that something serious has happened. Tires can be punctured, rims dented, wheel weights dislodged, and struts and shock absorbers broken or bent. If your vehicle starts to shake, or begins to handle differently at all, pull over safely as soon as you can. You will need to call your roadside assistance company to assess if your vehicle is drivable. If it is safe to do so, take photos of the damage and the pothole. Take note of the location, the time of day, and the names of any witnesses.
Depending on the cost of your vehicle and its components (something like custom-designed rims would play a factor), the cost to repair damage to your vehicle can range from hundreds of dollars to several thousand.
What Happens if I Hit a Pothole?
Since potholes are on city roads, it makes sense that drivers would be able to recoup losses for pothole-related damage to their vehicle. Calgary residents can file a claim through the department of Risk Management and Claims. In order for the City to be found liable, however, it must be proven that they knew (or should have known) about the pothole and failed to do anything about it. You should make your claim as quickly as possible after the incident, and be prepared to provide two different repair estimates. Other necessary details to fill out the claim include the make and model of your car and your contact and insurance information. There is the option to attach photos as well.
Can I Claim Pothole Damage on My Insurance?
Drivers with collision insurance can consider filing a claim for damage caused to their vehicle by a pothole. As is usual, you will be required to pay your deductible, which is commonly $500. Your company will also ask for as many details as possible about the incident that you can provide.
How to Avoid a Pothole
- When driving, look far ahead up the road. This will help you spot potholes ahead of time and steer clear of it safely.
- Always remain at least three cars lengths behind the car in front of you to allow you the appropriate amount of time to avoid a pothole.
Lane’s Insurance is Here For Alberta
Lane’s Insurance is your ally in the insurance business. It’s our job to find you the best coverage at the very best rates out there. Give us a call at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, or greater Alberta offices to see what we can do for you.