What causes potholes?

If you’ve ever had a car tire fall victim to a pothole, you’ve learned to loathe and do your best to avoid these asphalt pitfalls of modern society.

You’ve also probably wondered exactly what causes them and why they seem to be worse after foul weather. Let’s take a look at what makes a pothole.

The easy answer here is pretty straightforward: Potholes are caused by water. Mother nature just isn’t that kind to man-made materials and asphalt is one of those materials.

When it rains, water seeps into the ground under the pavement. If that water freezes, it expands. This expansion causes the pavement to crack. When the ice melts, the pavement contracts.

Over time, this leads to holes and cracks in the pavement that water can get into. As water gets into the pavement itself and expands and contracts it breaks down the asphalt. Add the weight of cars and trucks to the mix and eventually parts of the road break down enough to form the potholes we all know and love.

For Your Amusement: Potholes are generally not a source of humor. However, for a brief time a few years ago, Geico actually made a pothole funny in a popular commercial. You can view America’s funniest pothole below.

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