The days are longer and the sun is warmer. Spring is upon us and we’re all itching to feel that summer heat. The winter melting can cause some serious problems for your spring time adventures. The harsh winter months do a number on our roadways as the ice and snow heave and crack our streets. As a result, we are left with a sprawling maze of pitfalls and traps waiting to swallow up unsuspecting travelers and ravage wheels and suspension alike.

According to a 2014 survey conducted by Trusted Choice over a five year period, poor road conditions have cost consumers and insurers at least $27 billion in damages. Staying alert and focused on the road is your best defense against damaging road conditions. If all else fails, we have some helpful tips to make sure your spring travels are safe and sound!

Pothole safety tips:

• Keep an eye on traffic patterns. If a number of cars slow down or move quickly to other lanes, this may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.

• Avoid the urge to swerve out of the way of a pothole at the last minute. You may swerve into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Risking damage to your car is wiser than risking the loss of your life or that of another person.

• Report potholes to your state or local transportation department. Some states and localities have pothole hotlines. Motorists who think their state or local government will pay for damage to their cars may be out of luck. Laws in this area vary by jurisdiction and, even where such remedies are available, conditions may apply such as a requirement that the jurisdiction had notice of the pothole.

• If you hit a pothole and suspect damage, pull over as soon as it is safe. If you notice damage, record details and specific damage—just as you would in the event of a collision with another motorist—in case you need to file an insurance claim.

• Check in at least annually with your independent insurance agent to ensure that you have the right coverage.

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