Whether your fleet company is located in a state with winters or you frequently visit wintery areas, you’ve probably experienced some nasty potholes. Asphalt is a very strong material, so you may have wondered: “What causes it to sink and form holes?”
Simply put, potholes are caused by frozen water, which is why there are many more potholes in colder states than there are in warmer states. Underneath asphalt is a layer of gravel and when it rains or snows, water seeps into the gravel and the ground underneath. When the water freezes, it expands and it pushes the gravel and ground up against the asphalt. Because there is pressure against the asphalt, the asphalt will also expand and if it expands too much, it can crack.
After it cracks, there are more areas for water to seep in and the more water, the more expansion and the worse the cracks get.
To make matters worse, if the cracks are in an area that people frequently drive over, the weight of their vehicles will add more stress and will make them worse. Once the cracks get too large, they break and form a hole in the asphalt. You’ll see more potholes toward the end of winter when it starts to get warmer outside. When it’s warm during the day and cold at night, any water in the ground will thaw and then freeze over and over again, which forms more potholes.
These potholes can be dangerous to drivers – especially during inclement weather or at night when they’re harder to see. The larger they are, the more damage they can do to your fleet car or truck. Your drivers can experience bent rims, blown-out tires, strut and shock damage, steering misalignment, exhaust system damage, and more. It’s important to pay attention to the road and to be on the lookout for potholes. If your drivers do hit a pothole that causes damage, they should know to pull over to the side of the road as far as possible before they call for help.
Luckily, our fleet fuel card can be used at a variety of locations that offer mechanical services. If you don’t already have one, fill out our online form to get started.