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Pothole damage costs drivers $3B a year, AAA says

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A new study from AAA reveals that pothole damage has cost drivers around the country $15 billion in vehicle repairs over the last five years.

“Area drivers get that sinking feeling every time they hit a pothole,” AAA spokesperson Cindy Antrican said in a release. “They know there’s a price to pay, and 16 million drivers across the country have had to pay for pothole damage to their vehicles in the last five years.”

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According to AAA’s survey, middle- and lower-income individuals are the most worried about potholes, with the majority of respondents in households having annual incomes under $75,000 expressing the highest levels of concern over damaged roadways.

This is likely due in part to the financial impact, as pothole damage can lead to expensive and extensive vehicle repairs.

“On average, American drivers report paying $300 to repair pothole-related vehicle damage,” Antrican said. “Adding to the financial frustration, those whose vehicles incurred this type of damage had it happen frequently, with an average of three times in the last five years.”

To minimize vehicle damage, AAA urges drivers to ensure tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread depth, as they are the only cushion between a pothole and the vehicle.

If a pothole strike is inevitable, it is also critical that drivers slow down, release the brakes and straighten steering before making contact with the pothole.

To avoid potholes in the roadway, drivers should remain alert, scan the road and increase following distances behind the vehicle ahead.

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