This is without a doubt a spectacular city to visit and if you have not been here, then make some plans, because you are sure to have an amazing stay! According to Wikipedia it's our French heritage that sets our beautiful city aside from many other North American tourist destinations. We have so many wonderful qualities as a city - if you want to know some awesome details that make Montreal a wonderful place to visit and live, you can check out this post.
There is however one thing that Montreal is known for that is not as appealing, and that's our outrageous pot holes! Every spring, as we prepare for the numerous festivals and international events, like the Jazz Festival, the Grand Prix, and hundreds of other events (including the #140confMTL - sponsored by Ogilvy & Ogilvy) the attention of the city gets distracted as we dodge obstacles in our daily lives - the Pot Holes!
This morning as I drove into work, I was lucky, I did not hit any pot holes (known in French as "Nid de Poule" ) in fact, I must say I was surprised to not even have to avoid any, but the reputation we have speaks for itself. Google Maps actually has a link where people are trying to record Pot Hole sightings in what they refer to as "Pot Hole City"
Above, a photo from the Montreal Gazette, (as it turns out, it wasn't a real pot hole) highlights an advertising campaign that "spoke" to most Montrealer's - even though it was not real, the stigma about Montreal's pot holes, made this picture believable! At least at first glance...
What can you do about Pot Holes?
It feels like nothing, you drive through the streets like they are an obstacle course. You avoid one happily, and then BANG, you hit another. It almost feels like a no win! Fortunately, the situation has made enough people unhappy and the city of Montreal is doing their best to respond. So here is what you can do to make your path to work, or school, or wherever you are traveling safer:
- "The city wants to make your life easier by improving accessibility to its services." According to the City of Montreal, Réseau ACCÈS MONTRÉAL: Call 311 and report it. They will send someone out and get the situation fixed. Have your doubts, don't! They actually are quite responsive - so take this obstacle out of your path and make the call. believe me, it will make you feel much better and make driving safer.
- Contact CAA - yes CAA - they have a Road Problem Watch program - when you report to them, they will take care of reporting it to the city for you!
Prevention - Avoid them if you can!
Its not easy to avoid pot holes. Let's face it.
What can you do? About.com had some great suggestions
- Keep your headlights clean - so you can illuminate the road as much as possible
- Drive slower than usual on what I call the "suspect roads" - if you live in Montreal, you know what I mean, there are just some roads that are pot hole nightmares! In my experience, Cote St. Luc Road is a major one. One year, I personally had 6 tires in one season (yes SIX) damaged there!
- Keep your tires inflated properly and consult a tire dealer to check that your car has proper alignment- according to About.com, keeping your tires aligned gives you the best chance of surviving a pot hole hit.
- Another favorite from About.com - kind of leaves you wondering where you "can" drive..but still its good advice: " Avoid driving too close to the side or center of the road.
Potholes especially love proliferating on the side where street and sidewalk meet. Watch out."
Too late, you hit one...So, who pays for Pot Hole damage?
This brings to light a question we face every year around this time, you hit a pot hole so who pays for it?
- Let's get right into it - your insurance can cover damaged to your vehicle itself for damage caused by a pot hole - thats the good news. The bad news? It's a responsible accident! Yes, unfair, annoying, and totally aggravating- but unfortunately if you hit a pot hole and you want your insurance to cover damages it goes against you as a responsible accident. Why? Because its an accident with no other vehicle involved. On top of that , tires (which can be very expensive) are often excluded in your policy wording, so to claim you would need more damage than just a blown out tire or two. Not great right? Who else is responsible? - see point #2 below.
- The city. According to CAA Quebec, and in my experience from having heard the same from many of our clients, if you're willing to go through the process you don't need to go through your insurance, or take it out of your own pocket, you can try your luck against the city. "In the case of a claim against a municipality or city, written notice announcing your intent to seek damages must be sent by registered mail to the municipal clerk in the area where the pothole is located within 15 days of the incident." - You may want to read their post on this here.
So welcome to spring in Montreal!
The flowers are going to be beautiful, the weather is going to get warmer...but until then - please drive carefully and look out for the pot holes!
Do you have any stories? What's your pot hole experience? If you live here, you're sure to have at least one! Please join in by sharing in the comments below!
...And if you have a car stuck in a pot hole, by all means share that too - sometimes it takes a picture to believe what we've lived! We will share them on our Facebook page if you want us to :)