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AAA Study: Potholes Are a Money Pit for Motorists

CARS.COM — Winter weather can turn the pavement into a veritable minefield for drivers, and the resulting repair costs are blowing up, according to a new report by travel-services provider AAA.

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Potholes during the past five years have put U.S. drivers $15 billion in the hole, or about $3 billion annually, AAA said. The varied types of car trauma resulting from potholes, from tire punctures and bent wheels to suspension damage, cost drivers an average of $300 per incident. It’s little wonder two-thirds of Americans list potholes among their concerns about local roadways, with households earning less than $75,000 a year expressing the greatest consternation.

To minimize damage, AAA advises keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure and ensuring they have adequate tread depth to cushion the blow.

“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,” AAA said in a statement. “To avoid potholes in the roadway, drivers should remain alert, scan the road and increase following distances behind the vehicle ahead.”

AAA used the report’s release as an opportunity to reiterate its plea to Congress to increase annual funding for road-and-bridge repair by as much as $170 billion. It also called upon automakers to halt the growing trend of including inflator kits on cars in place of spare tires.