Construction 101: How Do Potholes Form?

Construction 101: How Do Potholes Form?

Every year, potholes cause more than $3 billion worth of damage to cars, trucks, and SUVs throughout the country. If you’ve ever hit a pothole, you know just how scary it can be, especially when it’s time to get out and see what kind of damage it was able to do to your vehicle.

So, how do potholes form in the first place? Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t take much at all for one of them to form. It’s why there are so many of them out there today.

We’re going to walk you through how potholes form so that you’re able to get a better understanding of the process. It should help to show you why it’s almost impossible to prevent potholes from popping up all over the place.

Here’s a guide on how potholes form, as well as a few tips on how to stop them from wreaking havoc on your vehicle.

How Do Potholes Form?

You might be under the impression that it takes a long time for potholes to form. But in reality, it doesn’t take very long at all for them to rear their ugly heads.

Every winter, there are going to be new potholes that will form on most streets. These are the steps that will take place while a new pothole is forming.

Water Seeps Down Into a Road

In order for a pothole to form in a road, water has to work its way into it. In some cases, this water will make its way down into a road through any road damage or driveway damage that it’s able to find.

Something as simple as a crack in a road can allow water to get into it. There are also times when groundwater will come up from underneath a road and get into it.

Either way, it’s never a good thing when water is able to make its way into a road. It’ll only be a matter of time before a pothole will begin to form.

Water Freezes Inside a Road

When water gets into a road in the spring, summer, or even fall, it shouldn’t cause too many issues right away. But problems will start to occur in the wintertime when water freezes inside a road.

As the temperature goes down, the water in a road will slowly turn to ice. This ice is what’s going to cause trouble for a road and eventually lead to potholes forming in it.

Water Turns to Ice and Expands in a Road

As soon as water turns to ice in a road, it’s going to begin to expand. That expansion is what is going to make it possible for potholes to form in the road.

The tiny crack that water was able to get into in a road will widen when the ice in it expands. Sooner or later, this will result in the road cracking even more and undergoing additional damage.

Ice Melts, Freezes Again, and Weakens a Road More

The true trouble starts when the ice in a road melts and then eventually freezes again. By that point, there will be even more water that has made its way into a road, and when that water freezes with the water from before, it can weaken a road further.

Before long, there will be big gaps right underneath the surface of a road. These gaps are going to be what will enable potholes to form.

Vehicles Pass Over a Weakened Road and Potholes Form

While everything else that we’ve already mentioned is going on, vehicles will continue to travel over a road. The weight of these vehicles will put a big strain on the weakened portions of a road, and at some point, the road won’t be able to take it anymore.

At that time, potholes will start to form in the road. And over time, they’ll continue to get bigger as more vehicles drive over them.

How You Can Stop Potholes From Damaging Your Vehicle

As we alluded to earlier, potholes can do a ridiculous amount of damage to a vehicle. You might end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get your car fixed after you run over a pothole.

There are, however, a few steps you might be able to take to stop potholes from damaging your vehicle. Now that you know the answer to the question, “How do potholes form?”, you should commit them to memory and put them to good use when you’re behind the wheel of your car.

First and foremost, you should always be on the lookout for potholes in the winter. You’re going to come across at least a few during your travels, and you should be able to swerve around them when you see them.

You should also report any potholes on major roadways to your city or town so that they can get fixed. Cities and towns know how serious pothole damage can be and will typically rush right out to fill potholes in.

Additionally, you might want to take it upon yourself to have potholes repaired if they’re right outside your home or business and putting your vehicle at risk every single day. For a company, pothole repair won’t be a problem at all.

This kind of company can also lend a hand when you need help with driveway holes, driveway cracks, and other forms of driveway care.

You Don’t Have to Let a Pothole Ruin Your Day

Potholes can be a huge headache for many drivers. All it takes is one pothole to do damage to your car that will require extensive repairs.

After learning the answer to the question, “How do potholes form?”, you should have a newfound respect for how dangerous they can be. You should make it your mission to steer clear of them at all costs so that they aren’t able to impact your vehicle.

Look for more tips on caring for your car by browsing through more of our blog articles.

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