The brutal winter has made New Jersey's roads look like Swiss cheese, and hitting a pothole could land you with some hefty repair bills.

Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ

AAA Mid-Atlantic said since December, their roadside crews have responded to 26,560 calls for flat tires in New Jersey.

What's worse is, hitting a pothole can end up hitting your pocket as well.

"Wheel alignments can cost around $50, but some of the other elements such as the shocks or the struts can run up to $2,500," said Sue Madden, AAA spokesperson.

Motorists file about 500,000 auto insurance claims for pothole damage, according to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, but AAA says that can end up costing you in the end.

Madden said if the repair costs less than your deductible, it could be worth paying out of pocket -- especially since filing a claim could end up raising your premiums in the future.

"That's why it's important to find out how much it's going to cost to get your car repaired, because you don't want to increase your insurance premium," she said.

If you do see a pothole coming up, Madden said don't try to swerve around it.

"Get into it as gently as you can, if you have to get into a pothole," she said. "We don't recommend you swerve, because then you could be in the line of another car or hit a pedestrian. So just take your time out there."

Madden also said to keep your tires well inflated, and remember that sedans and cars with low profiles are much more susceptible to damage from potholes than SUVs and trucks.