CAA Unveils Ontario’s Worst Roads

By Lesley Green
A close-up of a city street with a large pothole.
  • Prince Edward Country's Victoria Road dethrones Toronto's Eglinton Avenue East as the province's worst road.
  • Poor road infrastructure costs drivers an extra $126 a year in maintenance.
  • An insurance claim for pothole damage to your car is likely to be considered an at-fault collision as it is a single car accident.

The votes are in and the list of the worst roads in Ontario is out.

The results of CAA's 2021 Worst Roads survey are in, and it's bad news for drivers in Prince Edward County: Victoria Road, which is debuting on the list, has dethroned Eglinton Avenue East in Toronto to take the top spot as the worst road in the province.

Carling Avenue in Ottawa, followed by Barton Street East in Hamilton, round out the top three roads in the province that drivers love to hate most.

Ontario’s top 10 worst roads for 2021 are:

  1. Victoria Road, Prince Edward County
  2. Carling Avenue, Ottawa
  3. Barton Street East, Hamilton
  4. County Road 49, Prince Edward County
  5. Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
  6. Hunt Club Road, Ottawa
  7. Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
  8. Innes Road, Ottawa
  9. Algonquin Boulevard West, Timmins
  10. Queen Street, Kingston

"The quality of our roadways affect everyone," said Tina Wong, government relations specialist for CAA South Central Ontario, in a press release. "Our roads are the arteries used every day to keep essential workers, goods and services flowing. They should be maintained now more than ever."

When nominating the road they felt deserved the title, voters blamed potholes and crumbling pavement (81%) for their pick, followed by traffic congestion (11%) and little to non-existent pedestrian infrastructure (7%).

"As people continue working from home and traveling (sic) locally during the pandemic, we are seeing different roads appear on the list. We should continue taking advantage of these lighter traffic patterns as an opportunity for necessary road repairs," added Wong.

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CAA has also compiled the regional top five worst roads, and the following is a sample of some of those as well:

Worst in Toronto Worst in Hamilton Worst in Halton, Peel, York, and Durham
Eglinton Avenue East Barton Street East Speers Road (Oakville)
Eglington Avenue West Burlington Street East Williams Parkway (Brampton)
Weston Road Aberdeen Avenue Yonge Street (Yonge Street)
Dufferin Street Main Street West Hurontario Street (Mississauga)
Bathurst Street Main Street East and Osler Drive Farewell Street (Oshawa)

Poor road infrastructure costs drivers an extra $126 a year in maintenance

In a CAA study released earlier this year, it was said the average Canadian driver incurs an extra $126 in costs annually due to the poor quality of roads. Specifically, fuel efficiency, wear-and-tear on your car’s tires, repair and maintenance, and depreciation was cited as being directly impacted by the state of the roads where you live.

What to do if a pothole damages your car

Potholes can wreak havoc on automobiles, and many drivers look to their auto insurance for help to offset the cost of the damage. However, you’ll want to consider whether submitting an insurance claim for damage stemming from a pothole is worth it.

Hitting a pothole that causes damage to your vehicle is likely to be considered an at-fault collision as it’s a single-car accident. Additionally, you must have collision coverage to file a pothole claim (not everyone does, as it is optional). Before submitting a claim, you'll want to factor in the cost of your deductible, your claims history, and the potential for premium increases. It might be better to pay for the damage out-of-pocket.

As an alternative to filing an insurance claim, many drivers seek reimbursement from the city where the pothole was located. Your claim will typically be considered in Ontario if the city (or municipality) failed to meet the minimum maintenance levels for the road.

In either case, document the damage as much as possible. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, and, provided it is safe to do so, the pothole itself.

Tips for avoiding damage from potholes

Your best bet for avoiding pothole-related damage is to avoid potholes altogether or take measures to lessen the blow they cause:

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated, as this can help mitigate damage.
  • Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. That will give you the time needed to spot a pothole ahead and calmly and safely avoid it.
  • If the pothole is unavoidable, slow down by taking your foot off the gas.
  • Avoid braking while driving over a pothole, as this can cause additional damage.
  • Hold firmly onto the steering wheel so you don't lose control of your car.
  • Take your car to a mechanic if you suspect any damage before it gets worse.