KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With temperatures freezing, then thawing and heavy rain– potholes are a focus for Tennessee Department of Transportation crews and drivers. 

Several drivers were stuck on the side of I-40 Sunday after their tires blew when they hit one of the potholes.

“For some reason, we didn’t even see it coming up and that could be the danger of it. Not being able to tell when it’s there,” said Nicholas Rector, a driver affected by the potholes. 

Rector says in the rain, he didn’t see just how much damage the hole could do until it was too late. His car, complete with blowout proof tires– damaged on all four after hitting multiple major potholes in a row along I-40 near the Cherry St. exit. 

“Keep your eyes open and pay attention to them. That’s one of the main things you have to do when driving, even when you think you are, there are accidents that happen,” said Rector.

The average repair bill for damage caused by potholes is $300, according to AAA. Most motorists will pay for the repairs out of pocket. 

AAA Tips for Avoiding Pothole Damage 

  • Remain alert.
  • Scan the road ahead and increase your following distance allowing time to react. 
  • Properly inflate tires and have adequate tread depth since they’re the only “cushion” between a pothole and the vehicle. 
  • If you can’t avoid the pothole: slow down, release the brakes and straighten the steering before making contact.

To report potholes directly to TDOT can be reached by email at or by phone at (865) 594-2408.