Automotive How do potholes happen

Published on July 25th, 2013 | by Jordan

Where Do Potholes Come From?

Nobody likes potholes. They’re annoying, inconvenient and just downright dangerous. They can damage your vehicle, disturb the contents of your vehicle and make any motorist miserable. Today, we’re going to explain how the average pothole is formed, plus share some helpful tips to keep you from mistakenly hitting one.

Here’s how your typical pothole begins forming:

  • Rain, sleet and snow work into the soil under the pavement.
  • When the temperature drops, water freezes and expands, pushing up the soil and pavement.
  • As thawing occurs, the water runs away and the soil recedes, creating a hole under the pavement.
  • A passing vehicle breaks the pavement, causing a pothole.

The weaker the pavement, the more likely potholes will develop. Areas of your car that can be damaged by potholes include:

  • Wheel alignment
  • Exhaust
  • Wheel rims / hubcaps
  • Tires
  • Steering & suspension components
  • Shock absorbers

Here are 7 simple tips to avoiding a pothole:

  • Be cautious when the roads are wet, as there may be a hidden pothole under that puddle!
  • Stay off seams at the edges and centre of the road – that’s usually where potholes start to develop.
  • Be wary of a pavement edge that drops off – a collision could occur if you lose control. If your tires fall off the edge of the pavement, slow down and avoid braking. When slowed and in control, steer back onto the roadway.
  • Motorists ahead of you will likely swerve to avoid oncoming potholes. If you can’t avoid it, proceed slowly and don’t hit the brakes or you may compound the damage.
  • It’s important to avoid potholes in a safe manner – that means no swerving! Always keep an eye out for other motorists.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. An improperly inflated tire increases the chance it will burst when it hits a pothole.
  • Have tires, wheels and suspension components of your car inspected if you frequently drive over roads with potholes or if you suspect damage. Your local Approved Auto Repair Facility can help.
  • Check out Ontario’s Top 10 Worst Roads of 2013!

Do you have any pothole horror stories? We’ve all been there. Share yours in the comments section below!

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