Marilyn Buskohl
Public Affairs Director
O: (605) 310-4614
C: (605) 367-3964

Pothole Damage Costs U.S. Drivers $3 Billion Annually

March 21, 2018 – 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 nearly onethird (28 percent) of 2017 model year vehicles do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment according to a new AAA study. Tire inflator kits have replaced the spare tire in millions of vehicles over the last 12 years but due to their limited functionality, cannot provide even a temporary fix for pothole damage creating an unnecessary hassle and expense for drivers. To avoid a roadside surprise, AAA South Dakota urges drivers to check their trunk for a spare tire before trouble strikes.  

“Having a flat tire can be a nuisance for drivers, but not having a spare could put them in an even more aggravating situation,” said Marilyn Buskohl, AAA South Dakota spokesperson. “This can turn the relatively routine process of changing a tire at the roadside into an inconvenient and costly situation that requires a tow to a repair facility.”

Every year, AAA responds to more than four million calls for flat tire assistance, many the result of damage caused by potholes. 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 $1000.

“Potholes don’t just leave you shaken – they’re a serious safety hazard and often lead to costly repair bills,” continued Buskohl. “You can easily lose control of your vehicle if you hit a pothole, possibly leading to a crash, and it’s just a dangerous to swerve to avoid it.  Slow down and stay alert, especially as road crews continue to work to patch potholes throughout the region.”

Debris in the roads also presents driving challenges. One of the most common types of vehicle debris are parts becoming detached from a vehicle (tires, wheels, etc.) and falling onto the roadway. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, revealed that more than 200,000 crashes over a four year period – some of them deadly – were caused by flying furniture, car parts and other road debris. To minimize vehicle damage from potholes and debris, AAA offers the following tips:

  • Inspect Tires – Make sure tires are properly inflated and have a healthy tread.
  • 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.
  • Leave Room –Always try to maintain open space on at least one side of your vehicle in case you need to steer around an object.
  • Beware of Puddles – puddles often disguise deep potholes.
  • 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.
  • Where’s the Spare – New car owners beware, a quick fix for a blown out tire may be no more, as many newer cars do not have spare tires.
  • Big Hole, Big Hit – Hitting a large pothole usually results in, not only replacing a tire, but also the need for wheel alignment and possible steering linkage damage, causing a bit hit to motorists’ wallets.



TEDx Wilmington Salon

Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.

This event had:

  • 12 live talks given by 13 speakers
  • 368 people in attendance at the live event
  • More than 7,500 viewed the event online through Livestream, viewing events, and on the AAA Associate network
  • Online viewers came from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world

View a slideshow from the event

This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA

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