Hitting too many potholes? Here’s what you should do

Pockmarked pavement seems to be the new normal in many parts of the country as potholes caused by this winter’s icy roads have reached epidemic proportions.

“Drivers know immediately when they hit a pothole, but what they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process,” says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council in Bethesda, Md.

White advises drivers to see their mechanics if they experience a loss of control, sway through turns or bounce excessively over bumps, which would indicate damage to the steering or suspension systems; pulling to one side during acceleration or braking usually means the car is need of a wheel alignment.

Fortunately, the Insurance Information Institute says pothole damage is usually covered (subject to a deductible) under a car insurance policy’s optional collision section. A driver who hits another car or a pedestrian as a result of a pothole would be covered by liability insurance, which is required to drive legally in every U.S. state except New Hampshire.