Few things ruin a good Sunday drive like hitting a stretch of potholes! The immediate bump, grind, jostle, and jarring movement of hitting a pothole in the road takes that pleasant feeling right away. It’s annoying and dangerous. How do potholes form? What can we do about them to prevent it? How can you minimize the damage they might do to your vehicle? This time on the Sunrise Asphalt blog we’re going to look at just that.
How Do Potholes Form
Potholes are any dip or divot in an asphalt’s smooth surface. They form when groundwater that has seeped underneath the pavement freezes then expands. This causes the pavement to first swell then bend then crack. When that ice then melts, gaps are revealed in the subsurface and the asphalt might collapse back down, causing the pothole. It might also look fine but it is structurally weakened. As this process repeats itself the pavement weakens further.
Every time a car drives over that weakened point, the weight of the car breaks down the pavement further and further. Now the asphalt might become dislodged and moved completely. When this happens ta-da there’s a pothole. This isn’t the end of it however! A new pothole can fill with water, freeze, and continue the process making larger and larger pothole problems.
What Season is Worst for Potholes
You might be thinking that because they’re formed from freezing water, that winter is the worst time for potholes. Well, sort of. Potholes definitely form in the winter during the freezing temps but they won’t be noticeable until the spring when the ice has thawed entirely. So while winter is worse for potholes being made, Spring is worse for drivers when it comes to noticing them!
How to Prevent Pothole Damage
The biggest problem with potholes is their range. They might be only an inch or less deep, or a 10 inch cliff. And you can’t distinguish the difference when driving. The number one thing you can do to prevent pothole damage to your vehicle is to avoid them entirely! Scan the road ahead of you while driving, clock the potholes early and make the maneuvers necessary to avoid hitting one. If you can’t avoid it entirely? Slow down. This will help take some of the force off hitting the pothole.
How To Prevent Potholes From Forming In The First Place
There are two critical things you can do to prevent potholes from forming in the first place. The first is to make sure you clear any water away that might be pooling. If you have puddles developing quickly, clear them away using a push broom. Keep all debris and such off your asphalt.
The other huge piece of pothole preventative maintenance? Repair and seal cracks in your pavement! Those cracks are the weak points that water is looking for to get into your asphalt and seep into the lower levels. Repair and seal all cracks when they first show before they are allowed to undermine the entire structure of your pavement.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say! Fixing the crack when it’s still a crack will avoid the more robust repairs needed for a pothole and any potential vehicle damage that might occur before the repair can be done.
Have a pothole that’s too late to prevent? Need a repair done, and fast? Sunrise Asphalt is here to help!