Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Auto Repairs From Potholes Got You Down? You Are Not Alone
The AAA survey serves as yet another reminder that rather than laying more asphalt for new roads, governments at all levels need to prioritize maintenance and repair—referred to as a "fix-it-first" approach. The damage caused by poorly roads costs Americans an extra $3 billion in annual auto repair costs.
"AAA cautions drivers to remain alert to avoid pothole damage, and urges state and local governments to fully fund and prioritize road maintenance to reduce vehicle damage, repair costs and driver frustration," states the AAA press release.
The problems range from tire punctures and bent wheels, to more expensive suspension damage.
Poorly maintained roads have a disproportionate effect on middle and working class drivers—something critics of gas tax increases who are quick to cite the "regressiveness" of the gas tax might consider.
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.
While the responsibility for well-maintained public roads lies squarely with government agencies, there are steps motorists can do to lessen damage to their vehicles. See AAA's tips to drivers. Recommendations are also listed in their fact sheet [PDF] on the survey.
Finally, no mention of damages to bicycles, but as any cyclist knows, they feel, quite literally, the effects of poorly maintained roads. Cycling Weekly (UK) prepared a "Guide to tackling potholes on a bike."