News You Can Use 


It’s Pothole Season

While potholes can occur any time of year, they are most prevalent in the Northeast in late winter or early spring. Heavy traffic, aging pavement and frequent patching will lead to cracks. During the winter, snow and water fills those cracks and freezes, expanding and moving the pavement. Once the thaw begins and the ice in the pavement melts, potholes appear.

Avoiding potholes is difficult and sometimes impossible.  Should you drive into one, you may damage your exhaust system, suspension, alignment and/or tires and rims. From a safety standpoint, many drivers swerve quickly to avoid potholes, causing serious crashes. And driving into a pothole unexpectedly can cause you to lose control, leading to additional danger.

Try to avoid potholes by staying alert and attentive behind the wheel.  If you see a pothole, states encourage you to report the locations so maintenance can be scheduled.  In some states, vehicle owners can file a claim to request reimbursement for damage resulting from hitting a pothole.

For more information, visit these websites to learn more about your state’s policies or call the numbers provided: +

 
You can minimize your risk from potholes with AAA’s Tire & Wheel Protection program. 

Walking and Biking

family cycling on a bike bath

Pedestrian deaths increase in warmer months, as more and more people are out walking or biking once the colder temperatures have passed.  Child pedestrian fatalities happen twice as often around parks than near schools, and about 80% of child pedestrian accidents occur outside of intersections.

Adults should continually have conversations with their kids about staying safe while out walking (or biking) in their communities. This includes teenagers, too, who are often so distracted by their phones they miss the dangers of the roads and sidewalks they are walking on. Be sure to walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks and you have to walk in the street. 

Bicycle use increased dramatically during the pandemic, and we’re likely to see a higher number of cyclists on the roads this year. When biking, be sure to ride in the same direction as traffic. Check out all our information and free biking materials here.

Reinforce basic rules often with younger children:

 

  1. Always walk on the sidewalks.
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  3. If sidewalks aren’t available, walk facing traffic.
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  5. Always stop and look Left – Right – Left.
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  7. Don’t ever dart out into the street between parked cars.
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  9. Cross streets at crosswalks and intersections.
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  11. When riding a bike, always wear a helmet!
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  13. Wear bright and retroreflective clothing when walking at dawn, dusk or in the evening.
  1. Don’t get complacent…follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
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  3. Never assume a driver notices you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you’re seen.
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  5. When behind the wheel, you must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Don’t speed up to “make the light” at an intersection.
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  7. Don’t use your phone while walking – studies show walking and texting accidents are increasing.
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Stay Alert, Stay Safe!

Yellow caution sign stating "slow down, move over"

April 11-15 is Work Zone Awareness Week.  ‘Tis the season for road construction – and motorists should be extra alert when driving through work zones.  In 2020, despite lower traffic volume due to the pandemic, work zone crashes and fatalities increased. Speed and distracted driving are the main factors.

With more cars hitting the roads in nicer weather, drivers are reminded of the Slow Down Move Over laws in every state in AAA Northeast’s territory. Motorists are legally required to slow down to a safe speed and to move over to the adjacent lane (if possible) when passing stopped emergency vehicles, including police, fire, roadside assistance, and towing and recovery vehicles.

 

Visit AAA.com/SlowDownMoveOver to learn more. 

Spring Car Tips

March comes roaring “in like a lion” with snow, sleet, rain and wind or even unusually warm temperatures. While winter conditions, as well as salt and sand from the roads, may have already damaged your car, unsettled spring weather can wreak more havoc.

Now is the perfect time to take care of any issues and do some preventative maintenance to keep you running smoothly this spring and summer. Here are some maintenance tips from AAA’s Car Doctor, John Paul:

Family standing by the trunk of car

Spring Car Cleaning Checklist +

  1. Wash your car. Salt can affect the paint and corrode any metal, so make sure to remove it. Don’t forget underneath; the undercarriage can accumulate sand, dirt, grime and salt. Use a hose to get it all off. If you notice any chips or scratches, fix them now before they start corroding the paint. A good coat of wax will renew the paint and protect your car from spring weather as well.
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  3. Replace filters. Spring is allergy season so you need a clean cabin air filter to keep pollen, dirt and dust from getting into the car. Look at the engine air filter to make sure it’s clean.

     

  4. Refill fluids and check your windshield wiper blades. Spring brings rain, so you need the wipers fully functioning for good visibility.

     

  5. Check your battery. Cold temperatures require more starting power, so make sure it’s still charged and fully functioning. AAA members can call AAA Car Battery Service to schedule a battery test and to get a quote. If your car has been sitting over the winter, it is likely the battery will need to be charged with a battery charger to get it back to full power.
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  7. Measure tire pressure. Potholes and cold, wintry roads decrease pressure, so make sure they’re at proper levels. Find the right pressure for your tires by checking the sticker on the insider of the driver’s door or trunk.
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  9. Check your tires. Closely inspect the tires for cuts, bulges and other damage caused by potholes that occur in the winter. Sand and salt are abrasive and degrade tire surfaces, so check the tire treads – AAA recommends replacing tires when tread depth reaches 4/32” for vehicles in the Northeast. Poor traction will lead to hydroplaning on wet roads caused by spring rains.
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  11. Vacuum the interior of the car, including the air vents, to remove any debris, food, sand or salt. Clean the windows inside and out and dust the dashboard and plastic components.
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  13. Visit a trusted repair facility to give your vehicle a check-up, including alignment, the exhaust system, engine, plugs and more. If you’re not sure who to trust your vehicle to, click here to find a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility in your neighborhood.

Spring Driving Tips +

  1. Take precautions against increased glare and sun. Store sunglasses in your car and keep your windshield clean.

     

  2. Be alert for more pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles once the weather gets warmer.

     

  3. Prepare for spring showers. Take it slow in sudden rainstorms; the first 10 minutes of a downpour present the highest risk for hydroplaning. Also, stay in the highway’s center lane to reduce the risk of hydroplaning on wet pavement. Most roads have a crown that sends water to the right and left lanes.
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  5. Avoid cruise control in rainy conditions. You need your foot on the accelerator to keep control of the vehicle.
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  7. Keep your tires inflated to the proper level. Underinflated tires don’t displace water as well, making driving in wet conditions more dangerous.
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  9. Don’t brake during an impact with a pothole. Instead, brake prior to the pothole and release before impact. Less severe damage occurs when a tire is rolling over a pothole than when it’s skidding over one.
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