Fluctuating winter temperatures have been wreaking havoc on our roadways and our cars. Pothole season is officially here. Across the region, Plymouth Rock Crashbusters® – vans have been spotting potholes seemingly around every corner. Check out these tips to keep your car from becoming the next pothole casualty.
- Stay Properly Inflated: Make sure your tires are inflated to the specs indicated in your owner’s manual or on your door jamb. This cushion is your car’s first line of defense when potholes attack!
- Check Your Suspension: If your car is shimmying and shaking, it may be time to get things checked out. Make sure you mention any changes in handling to a certified technician.
- Stay Focused: Keep the tunes at a reasonable decibel, your mobile phone off and your friends quiet so you can stay focused on the road. That way you can keep your attention on driving and be on the lookout for any pothole hazards.
- Slow Down: This may be obvious, but slowing down is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t end up with a flat tire on the way to work. Avoid slamming on the brakes when you spot a pothole. That can increase downforce and the likelihood of damage from a pothole.
- Drive Smart: Avoiding the pothole altogether is your car’s best bet, but only if you can do it safely. Be constantly aware of your surroundings (check for oncoming traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, and other dangers) so you know where things are should you need to avoid a pothole.
- Beware the Deep: Potholes filled with water are sneaky buggers. They often are deeper than they appear. Don’t underestimate even a small pothole or puddle because it could cost you.
- Tell the Public: That’s right, we want you to be a pothole snitch. Report potholes on major state roads in New Jersey online or contact MassDOT in Massachusetts (Just don’t do it while you are driving.)
In New Jersey, you may be eligible to file a pothole claim with the Division of Risk Management if your car has sustained damage on a state road (this may help you recoup your insurance deductible). Make sure you include repair estimates, receipts, copies of your police report, and photos of the damage if possible. You must also include your car insurance declaration page and the location of the accident. It’s important to note that counties and towns have different policies for pothole damage on their roads. To keep up to date and report potholes across New Jersey, you can try this interactive pothole tracker.
In Massachusetts, the state is only responsible for physical injuries from potholes, not for physical damage to cars.
Click here for more information about insurance in your state.