We Asked if You Have a Pennsylvania Pothole Horror Story. Here’s What You Had to Say

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By Patrick Berkery

August 3, 2023

Pennsylvania roads are infamous for their numerous and treacherous potholes. So we asked our readers if their car has ever been damaged by one. This is what they had to say.

According to AAA, American drivers spend nearly $3 billion a year fixing car damage caused by potholes.

Pennsylvanians surely account for a big chunk of that figure.

Since the beginning of the year, the commonwealth ranks 7th nationally in Google searches for pothole-related complaints. That’s not surprising, given that our roads are infamous for their numerous and treacherous potholes, leaving drivers with all manner of vehicular headaches from bent rims to broken axles. Some might say you’re not even considered a real Pennsylvanian unless you’ve hit a pothole and done serious damage to your vehicle.

There is action you can take should your car sustain damage from a pothole on a Pennsylvania road. You can file an insurance claim against the commonwealth with the Bureau of Finance and Risk Management (FARM), which is responsible for determining if a claim should be paid. (FARM is not associated with PennDOT). In Allegheny County, you can file a claim directly with the county. In Philadelphia, you can file a claim with the city.

While filing a claim is a pretty straightforward process, getting reimbursed for damages can be tricky. Typically, these entities only claim responsibility for damages if they’re aware of a pothole and don’t fix it in a timely manner. So the road to reimbursement can involve navigating some red tape.

The pothole problem has not gone unnoticed outside of the commonwealth. Last year, President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill dedicated $4.4 billion to fixing 7,540 miles of Pennsylvania highway in poor condition.

You’re likely to see that work continue into the fall, as most pothole repair occurs during the warm-weather months. If you see a pothole, report it to PennDOT, or your local county/municipality.

Given Pennsylvania’s persistent pothole problem, recently in our newsletter (which you can subscribe to here), we asked readers if their car has ever been damaged by an encounter with a Pennsylvania pothole. Here’s what they had to say.

“Four flat tires in the last two years.”

Jim Blean, Macungie

“We have numerous potholes on almost every street here. Whose car wasn’t (damaged) here?

Christine Sauer, Hazleton

“My car was the victim of a pothole disaster. $1,000 dollars later I found no help from the city, just a run around. The streets are flooded with potholes. Nothing is ever done and there is no recourse.”

Claudia Post, Philadelphia

“YES. On 95 coming northbound, near Chester, in the summer of 2021. We had to have the car towed. It was a disaster, and we weren’t the only car that was stopped in our tracks due to the awful road condition on 95.”

Kim Piergallini, Bethlehem

“Oh yeah. Two different times. First time, a broken axle just outside of Williamsport. Not cheap to repair. Second time “only” a flat tire, near Hazleton.”

Tom Lemuski, Dallas

“Yep. Broken axle. Date night ruined.”

Mary Stevenson, Uniontown

“Just after I got my license, I hit a pothole with my mom’s car. Massive damage.”

Beth T., Ephrata

Yes. Two blown-out front tires and bent rims on Route 15. I was on my way to my parents’ 40th anniversary dinner. Obviously, I was very late.”

Rick Hennig, Harrisburg

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