AAA Mid-Atlantic: Pothole Season Starts Early in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, PA (January 15, 2018) – While tire-hungry potholes are typically a sign of spring, this winter’s extreme cold weather followed by record warmth has taken an early toll on Pennsylvania roadways - and drivers are paying a steep price. The combination of moisture from snow and ice seeping into the pavement, then freezing and heavy traffic, pavement age, vehicle weights, and snow and ice operations contribute to the problem.
“As though the potholes were not problem enough, rain and melting snow can disguise potholes as puddles and once darkness falls, the problem can go from bad to worse,” says Jana Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AA Mid-Atlantic. "We aren't even a month into winter and, between dead batteries and now potholes, it's already been an unusually costly season.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic Roadside Assistance – Philadelphia 5-County Area
Flat Tires – Friday, Jan. 12 – Sunday, Jan. 14
1,348 flat tire calls (compared to 611 calls the same weekend in 2017)
5,468 total calls (compared to 3,197 calls the same weekend in 2017)
Flat tire calls were 25% of the total calls received this weekend
Total call volume for this weekend was up 71% over the same weekend in 2017
Flat tire call volume for this weekend was up 121% over the same weekend in 2017
A 2016 AAA study revealed that pothole damage costs US drivers about $15 billion in vehicle repairs over a five-year period (2011-2015), or approximately $3 billion a year.
“On average, American drivers report paying $300 to repair pothole-related vehicle damage but depending on the extent of the damage, the make of the vehicle and the make of the tires, repairs could easily exceed $1,000,” Tidwell says. "This clearly illustrates the
need to maintain our deteriorating roadways - and the expense to motorists when it's not done in a timely manner.”
To minimize vehicle damage from potholes, AAA offers the following tips:
Inspect Tires – Make sure tires are properly inflated and have a healthy tread. An underinflated or badly worn tire is more likely to suffer damage or allow the wheel or suspension to be damaged when hitting a pothole.
Look ahead – Make a point of scanning the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver is more likely to have time to avoid a pothole so limit distractions.
Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely without abrupt braking.
Beware of Puddles – puddles often disguise deep potholes
Check Alignment – Hitting a pothole can knock wheels out of alignment and affect steering. If a vehicle pulls to left or right, have wheel alignment checked by qualified technician.
Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage the tire or wheel and even break suspension components. Any unusual noises after a pothole hit should be inspected immediately.
Every year, AAA responds to more than four million calls for flat tire assistance, many the result of damage caused by potholes. Spare tires, an important feature missing from one-third of new vehicles sold, are critical for drivers affected by pothole damage. Tire inflator kits have replaced the spare tire in millions of vehicles for more than a decade now and, due to their limited functionality, cannot provide even a temporary fix for pothole damage. AAA has called on automakers to put consumer interests first and halt the elimination of spare tires in new models.
To report a pothole that needs fixing in Philadelphia – download the free @philly311 app on a smartphone and provide the location.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.