5 Tips to Avoid Vehicle Damage From Potholes in New York - Catalano Law

5 Tips to Avoid Vehicle Damage From Potholes in New York

Central New York, known for scenic landscapes, is not immune to the less appealing aspects of urban living, such as the presence of potholes. Potholes are more than just a nuisance—they threaten the integrity of vehicles and the safety of drivers.

As spring showers start to soak the region, the increase in potholes can transform even the smoothest road into a treacherous obstacle course. In New York, drivers spend around $625 annually due to driving on poor roads, and the state’s 2025 budget includes $100 million for a Pave Our Potholes (POP) Program to rectify the issue.

Drivers must be alert and ready to avoid these dangers to prevent expensive damage and protect themselves and others. Below, we share five tips for avoiding vehicle damage from potholes in Central New York and the Southern Tier and how a Syracuse car accident lawyer from Catalano Law can help if you’re hurt in a pothole-related crash.

Understanding the Risks of Potholes

Potholes form when water seeps into the ground under the pavement, freezes, and thaws, expanding and contracting the ground material. This process, coupled with the wear and tear from traffic, causes the pavement to break down and form holes.

Potholes present risks to drivers and their vehicles, from minor inconveniences to serious safety hazards. They can cause tire damage, alignment problems, and suspension issues, affecting the vehicle’s performance and safety.

In some cases, potholes can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, resulting in accidents that cause severe injuries or fatalities.

How to Protect Your Vehicle From Potholes

While it can feel impossible to avoid potholes on the roads in Central New York, there are actions you can take to protect your vehicle and your safety. Here are five tips for minimizing or avoiding pothole damage when driving:

  1. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure: Adequately inflated tires provide a cushioning effect against the impact of potholes, reducing the likelihood of damage. Regularly check and maintain your tire pressure to ensure optimal performance. The recommended tire pressure is typically between 30 and 35 PSI, but refer to your vehicle’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.
  1. Adjust Driving Position: Move your seat to give you a clear view over the dashboard and adjust your mirrors to minimize blind spots. This optimal driving position improves your ability to see and react to potholes ahead, allowing for safer maneuvering or slowing down to reduce their impact.
  1. Watch Out for Potholes: Remain vigilant while driving, especially in areas prone to pothole formation, such as intersections, poorly maintained roads, and areas with heavy construction. Scan the road ahead for signs of pavement irregularities, allowing yourself ample time to react.
  1. Avoid Abrupt Braking or Turning: When confronted with a pothole, resist the urge to brake suddenly or swerve sharply, as these actions can exacerbate damage to your vehicle or even lead to loss of control. Instead, maintain a steady speed and trajectory, minimizing the impact on your vehicle’s suspension.
  1. Slow Down: As you approach a suspected pothole, reduce your speed to minimize the force of impact. Slowing down gives you more time to react and maneuver safely around or over the pothole, reducing the risk of damage to your vehicle.

Neglecting these precautions can lead to substantial financial burdens and potential injuries. For example, you may have to pay upwards of $1,000 to $5,000 for suspension issues or pay for costly tire replacements more often than is typically needed.

If you hit a pothole and lose control of your car, you and your passengers may suffer serious injuries. This can include head trauma, broken bones, or disfigurement due to colliding with another vehicle or roadside barriers.

Getting Compensation for Pothole-Related Damages

If your car is damaged due to a pothole in New York, you may have options for compensation. Although reimbursement is not guaranteed, you can file a property damage-only claim with the Thruway Authority. This involves filling out the Damage Claim Form (TA-W1552) and waiting 8 to 10 weeks for review.

However, if you were involved in an accident resulting in injury or death due to a pothole, a personal injury attorney can best help you seek damages. Our team at Catalano Law can review your accident to determine the cause and hold another driver or the state responsible.

For instance, we can help you file for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for medical bills and lost wages. If your injuries meet New York’s serious injury threshold, we can also help you file for excess damages and pain and suffering with the liable party’s insurance or in a lawsuit in court.

Let Us Help You After a Pothole Crash in New York

Navigating Central New York’s pothole-ridden roads requires proactive measures to protect vehicles and occupants from harm. However, accidents can still occur, especially when negligent drivers or road maintenance makes the roads dangerous.

If you’ve suffered damages due to potholes, our experienced lawyers at Catalano Law can help you seek fair compensation. We can win you damages for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress due to a car accident caused by a pothole so you can focus on recovery.

Contact us today for a free consultation to learn about your legal options.

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