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The Pain of Potholes


Wow the roads are quite a mess right now! I can't remember the last time there were so many potholes on our roads and highways. The other day I was traveling along the 401 towards Scarborough to take my son to a swim meet at the Pan Am Centre, and hit a pothole that had to be at least two feet square. The uneasy feeling of the vehicle as it walloped into the pothole sent chills down my spine as I imagined the punishment it had taken on my vehicle.

Luckily my vehicle did not suffer any ill effects, but here are some symptoms to be aware of if you hit a pothole:

  • A shaking feeling in your steering wheel
  • Your vehicle pulling to one side whereby you constantly have to keep correcting the vehicle to keep going straight down the rod
  • Your steering wheel being off centre
  • Or worse case scenario - a catastrophic immediate failure of a suspension or steering component rendering the vehicle immobile

Potholes are formed when water penetrates the upper layer of asphalt through cracks in the roadways. After the moisture freezes and expands, portions of the asphalt are forced up. With all the traffic on the roadways driving over these imperfections, the asphalt breaks away causing potholes. With this winters freeze/thaw cycles there are more and more potholes popping up every day. The city of Toronto reports that they fixed over 180,000 potholes in 2016 costing the city between 4 and 5 million dollars. The city of Hamilton also reports spending 5 million per year repairing potholes around the city. Let alone the cost to vehicle owners for repairs to their vehicles.

If you do experience damage to your vehicle due to pothole's, you may have a right to some compensation from the city. If you decide to make a claim, the most important thing to remember is be as detailed as possible. The city provides a list of details required before submitting your pothole claim (be sure to check for those details in your local area). Here may be a few items requested:

  • Your name, home address, phone number and e-mail address
  • Include witness accounts and contact numbers
  • Date, time and location when the damage took place to your vehicle
  • Exact address including a diagram and/or photo of the pothole location
  • Detailed description of your vehicles damage
  • Include documentation that you believe support your claim such as: photos, receipts and estimates
  • Outline why you believe the City is responsible for the damage to your vehicle
  • Did you report the incident to the City, if so, please provide name(s) of City staff involved.

Obviously the best way to avoid pothole damage while driving is to pay attention to road conditions and keep an eye out for any hazards coming your way. However, as with the pothole I hit on the 401, they can sometimes come out of the blue.

Stay safe out there on our local roads and highways. If you have any questions or need advice, please do not hesitate to contact us! We are always happy to help!!

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