There is no doubt in my mind the worst things this time of year for those of us that drive for a living are the elements! Ice and snow are about the nastiest things that can swoop in at moment’s notice, right along with gusting winds often pushing the storm fronts. Rain may not seem like such a big deal in comparison, but enough rain can cause damage in its own ways. Along with reducing visibility and impacting your truck’s stopping distance, rain can also severely damage the road surfaces causing tire-swallowing cracks and potholes.
You may think to yourself much like I did, “How does something like a little rain cause potholes in a solid road surface?” To better understand the root of the problem, think of what roads go through day in and day out. Vehicles of all sizes and weights drive on the surface and exert pressure onto the surface, flexing the solid material and cracking it. When it rains, the liquid is also forced into the cracks by the weight of the vehicles, separating the material even further and making it weak. If the surface being weakened has enough of this happening, big pieces break away under the pressure, giving birth to the tire-swallowing potholes and cracks we see this time of year! Of course things like road salts and constant scraping of ice-covered roads have a similar effect, with the chemicals and abrasion further aiding in breaking down the surface and the bitter cold causing expansion and contraction with the extreme temperature fluctuations.
With rain being my next favorite weather to the beauty of the wintery white stuff (not to drive in of course), it was hard to think something as gentle as falling water could lead to the breakdown of solid surfaces like concrete and asphalt. It only makes sense though, with all the abuse our roads take from vehicles of all types, that weaknesses would be exploited by Mother Nature and the eroding properties of rainfall. Be on the lookout for those tire-swallowing potholes as these winter storms make their way through your lanes of travel and don’t underestimate the power of the rain and water that come with them!