How potholes form and when we could see more in Michiana

Around this time of year, we start to see more and more issues with road conditions, and not just from weather. Potholes are a common winter problem that causes roads to deteriorate at a faster rate, but how do they form and why do we see so many of them here in Michiana?

When snow melts or rain falls, water seeps through cracks in the road and collects underneath, softening the road base. When temperatures drop below freezing, that water becomes ice, expanding during the phase change and forcing the pavement upward.

Once drier conditions return, the water under the road dissipates, resulting in an empty hole beneath the pavement. Passing traffic puts stress on the weakened pavement, causing the road to collapse in that spot and leaving behind a pothole.

If you see a pothole while driving, try to avoid it if possible. If you are in heavier traffic and not able to avoid it, try to slow down ahead of the pothole then let off your brakes before hitting it. This will help to prevent damage to your car’s suspension.

Our forecast shows the perfect recipe for conditions that are favorable for pothole formation: wet conditions today, freezing temperatures later this week, and drier weather this weekend heading into next week. Don’t be surprised if you see new potholes popping up or old ones getting deeper over the next couple weeks.

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