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Pothole Patrol part 2

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Following the worst winter in three decades, there's simply no avoiding potholes on Michigan roadways and now many drivers are forced to empty their wallets to pay for car repairs. 
Newschannel 3's Lourin Sprenger is taking a closer look at the issue in this special report. 
While crews are out tackling Michigan's pothole problems as quickly as the pop up, for many of us, it's too late. 
"All of a sudden, 'kaboom!' There is just a little bit of a pause and we hear woosh of the air," said Tina Mitchell. 
Mitchell's car took a hit when she struck a small pothole in Kalamazoo. The impact bent the rim and blew out a tire because she was unable to swerve and avoid the obstacle. 
"It's usually seven, eight hundred dollars," said Julie Chenery, Co-Owner of Autobody USA. "With this vehicle we're repairing this side of the car, two weeks ago the person was here for the other side." 
Employees at Autobody USA are seeing the same problems over and over again, all road related. 
"You'll have tire damage, you'll have rims, they'll be bent, it can mess up your suspension," said Chenery. 
Chenery says most drivers pay out of pocket for the damage while others try to get their insurance companies to pick up the tab, depending on the cost of the deductible. 
"It's rare that a pothole survives in our region for more than 72 hours," said Nick Schirripa, MDOT. 
MDOT tells Newschannel 3 that they are inundated with pothole claims filed on their website, but most of those claims will not be fulfilled, based on state law, which says that MDOT would have to have known about the pothole for quite some time. 
"We have to be negligent," said Schirripa, "meaning the pothole has been there for 30 days or more, that we know about." 
The same rules apply for city and county commissions. Which is why reporting a pothole is as important as filing for damages. 
A 2014 'TRIP' report claims Michiganders pay an extra $350 in repairs due to Michigan's poor road system. 
Fortunately for Mitchell, the damages to her car cost less than $75 and her insurance covered the cost of the tow. 
"I got lucky, very lucky," said Mitchell. 
Mitchell says the pothole she hit was filled the next day, but with them popping up as quickly as they're patched, she's hopeful she doesn't meet another one. 
"Potholes happen fast, all of the sudden they're just there," said Schirripa. "Even the small ones can be dangerous," said Mitchell.