The transition to spring means relief from winter’s grasp for millions, but what is good news for humans could be detrimental for vehicles now faced with the annual feat of avoiding potholes.
AAA estimates that one out of every ten drivers in 2021 sustained vehicle damage significant enough they needed immediate repairs after hitting a pothole.
Travel experts say potholes form when moisture enters cracks and crevices and expands and contracts due to rollercoaster-like temperatures that dip to below freezing at night and climb during the day.
"In many parts of the country, winter roads will likely give way to pothole-laden obstacle courses," Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering, said in a statement.
AAA estimated consumers faced $26.5 billion in pothole-related damages last year alone.
Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio earned honors for rounding out the top five problem-plagued areas.
In addition to examining states, QuoteWizard analysts broke down the data even further and labeled Yakima, Washington, a city along Interstate 82 in the central part of the state, as America’s pothole capital.
Experts say driving into these potholes can do everything from damaging a tire to leaving behind issues with your engine and exhaust system.
"When a vehicle hits a pothole with any kind of force, the tires, wheels and suspension get the brunt of the impact and fixing any of those items is pricey," Brannon said.
The auto club estimates drivers pay an average of around $600 per for repair work.
There are some preventive measures AAA suggests drivers take before they hit the road.
- Checking your tires for wear and tear and keeping them adequately inflated
- Make sure your vehicle is properly aligned
- Keep your eyes on the road and try to avoid depressions in pavement
- If you can’t steer clear of a pothole, avoid braking suddenly and monitor your vehicle for changes in its handling