Five questions regarding potholes

Every spring, potholes become the bane of every driver in Quebec. When you do spot one on time, it’s not always possible to swerve out of its way without causing an accident. Tires, wheels, shocks, steering, suspension…they can cause all kinds of damage, and prove to be costly, too. Here are a few tips taken from La Capitale’s blog to make it through pothole season without going crazy!

1-     How are potholes created?

Potholes occur in the spring, when the following five events combine to create a perfect storm:

  • A crack in the asphalt
  • Water getting into the crack
  • A period with freezing temperatures (to make the bottom of the asphalt swell)
  • A thawing period (to soften the asphalt)
  • Vehicles driving over the area (making it all crack)

2-     How can you limit the damage caused by potholes?

The severity of the damage depends on the speed at which the vehicle was travelling, the size and depth of the hole and the diameter of the tire. Here are a few tips to limit the damage.

  1. As soon as pothole season rolls around, check the air pressure in your tires. If there is too much air, the tire can burst. Not enough air can cause the tire to get stuck between the hole and the wheel.
  2. When driving, look all around you (peripheral vision) to have a better chance of spotting potholes. Also, keep a reasonable distance between you and the driver in front of you. This way, if that car hits a pothole or swerves to avoid one, you’ll have time to react.
  3. If you see a pothole but you can’t avoid it (without causing an accident), the best thing to do to minimize potential damage is:
  • Slow down as much as possible BEFORE reaching the pothole
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes while you’re going over the pothole
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly to maintain control during and after you go over the pothole.
  1. In the event of impact, pay attention to your vehicle’s performance. If the alignment seems to be off, if the car is making strange noises or anything else seems to be off, have it inspected by a mechanic immediately.

3-     Is damage caused by potholes covered by your insurance?

You must have the optional « Damage to insured vehicles – Collision or upset protection” coverage to be reimbursed for damage by your insurer. You must pay the deductible, however.

4-     Is it possible to get compensation from the pothole’s “owner”?

The law states that cities, municipalities and the Ministère des Transports cannot be held liable for damage caused to tires and suspensions owing to the state of roads.

 However, you can be compensated for damage to the body, paint, wheel or bumper of your vehicle damaged by a pothole. You must, however, be able to demonstrate fault or negligence, like inadequate maintenance.

Therefore, if your vehicle is damaged due to an unreported pothole, you will not be compensated because there is no proof that they are at fault.

5-     Why report potholes to your city, municipality or the Ministère des Transports?

Once notified, they must act within a reasonable time frame to eliminate the danger. By reporting potholes as soon as you encounter them, you help reduce the damage that you and other drivers can incur.

Take advantage of the partnership between Communauto and La Capitale!

If you’re already a Communauto member, ask for an insurance quote from La Capitale to get an exclusive, additional 5% discount on your home, auto or leisure vehicle insurance!