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Drivers can find relief after pothole damage

Illinois offers options to file a claim for damages related to potholes

Iowa and Illinois DOT allow drivers to file a claim to be reimbursed for pothole damage.
QUAD CITIES - The warm up this weekend means the roadways are no longer icy, but  as the snow and ice melt away, that leaves an entirely different road hazard. Potholes pop up this time of year as roadways expand and contract with the heat.
 
The first thing to remember is to keep your eyes open for potholes. If you can, you should change lanes to avoid hitting one, but that's not always possible. On some roadways, potholes are an unavoidable part of driving this time of year.
 
Moline even has a pothole of the month contest. Drivers send in photos of the biggest pothole they see and the winner gets a gift certificate.  
Plus, that alerts public works to go out and fill in the hole... 
 
AAA reports that over the last five years, drivers have spent $15 billion repairing their cars after hitting a pothole. Locally, we spoke with Jason Gravert from Gravert's Auto Service in Davenport. He says a lot of the time, hitting a pothole throws your steering out of alignment.
 
"Know your vehicle, pay attention, turn the radio down every now and then,and just listen. If things are sounding different come in and get it checked. It could save you a lot of money in the long run, and safety in between time," Gravert said. 
 
Gravert says you should try to get your car fixed as soon as possible after you hit a pothole, or at least get it looked at to make sure you didn't do some real damage. He also says most places offer inexpensive or free alignment checks, Gravert's offers them for free. 
 
Fixing your vehicle's alignment can be costly, but driving with a damaged car can snowball into a more expensive problem. 
 
"Every vehicle is a little bit different, but it could be from hundreds to thousands of dollars...You know, you spend a lot of money on tires, and if you have it knocked out of alignment because of that, you're spending more  money on tires more often. Elongating parts if they're loose on the front end, could become a safety problem if not addressed," Gravert said. 
 
The Illinois Department of Transportation can help out with repair costs. And if you can prove your car was damaged on an Illinois state roadway, you can file a claim to have the DOT reimburse you for damages. 
 
Another thing you can do after hitting a pothole is call the city, county, or the state, depending on what kind of road you're on, and report the hole, so they can get it filled in. 
 
Note: This story is from February 2016.

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