Ready To Sound Off on Where You Can Find the Worst Roads in the Province?

By Lesley Green
A close-up of a city street with a large pothole.

CAA’s Worst Roads campaign is back and ready for your vote!

Will Eglinton Avenue East in Toronto repeat as Ontario’s worst road? Or will it, like Riverdale Drive in Washago, have received the attention (and money) needed to give it a makeover so it’s a joy to drive, ride, or walk along? (Hint: The Eglinton Crosstown transit project is still inching its way across the city; it’s safe to assume this road is an early favourite to retake the title.)

Winning back-to-back is no easy task. It has been two years since Ontarians have been asked to nominate the street they love to hate most. Whether it’s due to crumbling pavement, potholes, traffic congestion, poor road signage, uneven sidewalks, or non-existent bike lanes, that’s plenty of time for other roads to have attracted the stink eye of road users.

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It’s this frustration by people who use the roads regularly that CAA is hoping to capture.

"The campaign is a platform for all road users to highlight which roadway improvements should be prioritized by our different levels of government," says Raymond Chan, government relations manager CAA SCO in a release. "The campaign gives decision-makers a snapshot of what roads the public perceives are not meeting their expectations."

Throughout the last year, people have changed their transportation habits, says the company, and infrastructure projects should support how we get around.

"As people are encouraged to stay home and telework during the pandemic, governments should continue to take advantage of lighter traffic patterns as an opportunity for road repair. These efforts can also be refocused on increasingly popular modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking," adds Chan.

Nominations for CAA's Worst Roads can be cast at caaworstroads.com until April 18.

Bumpy rides: 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, hitting a pothole that causes damage to your vehicle is likely to be considered an at-fault collision as it is a single-car accident. To file a pothole claim, you must have collision coverage, and even then, it might not be worth it to go through your insurance. 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 and possible, the pothole itself.

Tips for avoiding damage from potholes

Your best bet for avoiding pothole-related damage is to avoid potholes altogether or at least take measures to lessen the blow.

  • 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.

CAA’s winners for the province’s worst roads are usually announced near the end of May. Once the results are out, we’ll let you know who took the top spot (or, in this case, is it the bottom?).