Driving around the Gate City these days is presenting quite the pothole potpourri, so to speak. Thanks to the crazy winter thus far and its extensive freeze-thaw cycles, the Granite State has become riddled with cracking pavement under the weight of traffic that quickly develops into these crater creatures — seemingly overnight.
Road salt aggravates already damaged roads from what I’ve read, but what can you do?
Sometimes, the salt is our best ally during treacherous driving conditions.
The city’s DPW crews have had their work cut out for them, especially during the heavy freezing rain that fell again last Tuesday.
It was a challenge trying to keep pace, racking up some 765 road miles. John Ibarra, the city’s superintendent of streets, told WMUR News 9 that his crew “put out about 1,500 tons of salt, so roughly about $80,000 worth of material,” only to see the heavy rains wash it away and then, the mid 20-degree temperatures move in and freeze up the asphalt pavement again.
Maybe a professional racer like Danica Patrick would have little trouble avoiding these nasty depressions across Nashua, but for average folks like us you’re bound to graze one of the dozens I’ve come across or hit one altogether. And if you’re on the road at night, good luck, because you can’t always detect such a waiting cavity in the dark.
Last Sunday morning, a car immediately veered into my left lane on West Hollis Street as the driver tried to escape a large pothole. His car almost hit mine, but I understood his quick reaction.
No one wants to risk vehicle damage by their tires falling victim to these deep depressions. It doesn’t take much to wreck your mode of transportation. For example, you could easily dent a rim, pop a tire, suffer suspension issues like a blown strut or broken ball joint — and probably worse. Then there’s the hit to your wallet.
Some tire experts recommend driving along the road strategically. In other words, they want you to avoid the seams at the edges and center of the road. Those spots are where potholes typically develop, they claim.
I am assuming that would mean keeping your vehicle more to the right of the road but not hugging the shoulder if you’re driving on a single lane street? These professionals also advise keeping your vehicle’s tires properly inflated to handle the absorption should your car come in contact with a big bad pothole.
So if your vehicle happens to hit one and suffers damage, can you call your insurance company?
I went to Nashua’s longtime authorities Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency and asked veteran agent Nancy Roy, Personal Lines Manager, for her advice
“Yes, if you carry collision coverage on your vehicle, your policy/company would respond, subject to your deductible.”
OK, but if I hit a pothole, is it still considered an “at fault collision?”
Nancy told me that carriers will not consider this an at fault accident, but .... “It is a claim reported under your policy and could affect your rate.”
The best thing to do is drive carefully and always buy an insurance policy with collision coverage.
And yes, I’ve known a few folks who foolishly live on the edge and refuse to buy any type of auto insurance. It is not mandatory here in the Granite State.
Also, get in the habit now of keeping your eyes peeled for more potholes and the puddles that could be hiding them.
We still have a lot more winter to get through around here.
Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.