SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- According to AAA, the warmer weather after extreme cold is causing more potholes in the first state.

""First, AAA Roadside Assistance crews responded to thousands of calls from members with dead batteries and now, it's the tires,"" says Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Damage from potholes is not just an inconvenience. It can be a significant expense.

Lewes Meineke Service Advisor Orlando Herrera suggests drivers note their tires' condition if potholes are a concern.

"Depending on the life of the tires make sure you want to make sure you have enough tread," he explains. "If it's too low, you could potentially have a blow out. Another thing is your steering components, even your suspension can be greatly affected by potholes."

AAA lists the following tips for drivers wary of potholes:

Inspect Tires - The tire is the most important cushion between a car and a pothole. Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. To check the tread depth, insert a quarter into the tread groove with Washington's head upside down. The tread should cover part of Washington's head. If it doesn't, then it's time to start shopping for new tires. When checking tire pressures, ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended levels, which can be found in the owner's manual or on a sticker on the driver's door jamb. Do not use the pressure levels stamped on the sidewall of the tire.

Look Ahead - Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it's important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this will not cause a collision or endanger nearby pedestrians or cyclists.

Slow Down - If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components.

Beware of Puddles - A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.

Check Alignment - Hitting a pothole can knock a car's wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls to the left or right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.

Recognize Noises/Vibrations - A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.

Report a pothole: Motorists are encouraged to report potholes. In Delaware, motorists can report a pothole by contacting the DelDOT Transportation Management Center (operating 24/7/365) at 302-659-4600, #77 on your cell, or through e-mail at deldottmc@state.de.us.