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Memorial Day Weekend motorists to encounter road construction, rough conditions

State has hotline to report dangerous conditions, barrel issues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Motorists enjoying the Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of Summer are encountering road construction, paving crews, potholes and rough road conditions.

While orange barrels and cones decorate many sections of highways, other sections of road still need work. The West Virginia Department of Transportation has an online form for residents to report dangerous road conditions they notice while traveling around the state:  West Virginia is divided into 10 districts and requests for repairs and assistance can be filed within each district. Residents can also call 511 from a landline or cell phone and out-of-state travelers may call 855-699-8511 to report dangerous conditions.

A recent survey by commissioned by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America found that poor road conditions have cost consumers and the insurance industry at least $27 billion over a five-year period. The survey also reveals that from 2009 to 2014 half of car owners experienced damage to their vehicles as a result of potholes.
“Severe potholes have led to accidents which may impact insurance rates … accidents and driving violations. Potholes and poor road conditions aren’t just an inconvenience, they are an expensive and dangerous result of harsh winters,” said Jan Vineyard, chief executive officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginia. “… The rough winter months left their mark on our roads in West Virginia and across the country.”
The pothole survey found that for about 40 percent of respondents, that bill was more than $500.“This survey highlights how widespread the pothole problem is on our roadways and that the costs are enormous to both the insurance industry and to consumers,” adds Vineyard “And now, local authorities are struggling to keep up with the extensive road repairs.”

Consider the following independent insurance agent tips to motorists to help avoid costly damage from potholes and stay safe as they hit the roads:

Safety tips:

— Keep an eye on traffic patterns. A number of cars that slows down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.
— Avoid the urge to swerve out of the way of a rough road area or 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.

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