It wasn't there yesterday, but today it's a pothole pit ready to put a whammy on your wheels, spill your coffee, and make you cuss out loud.

How are potholes created?

Generally, the month of March kicks off the pothole season, this year we have the drastic day to night temperature swings to thank for an early start to the season. Not so much the effect of temperatures on the asphalt but its effect on the water that is beneath the asphalt. Cracks occur on roadways through average wear and tear, if water is able to seep through to the layers below the road surface here's where the simple science comes in...water expands when freezing.

Damage asphalt concrete road. The hole is in center of the road.
Ninja Artist
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When freezing temperatures occur the moisture below the roadway expands pushing up on the road surface.  When the temperatures warm up, the water returns to its original form which now leaves a gap between the ground and the road surface. Now lacking ground support the asphalt is on its own to take on traffic.

You can blame the warm February days but honestly, the salt isn't helping.

When it's raining in February, salt makes a lot of sense.  What happens when salt is introduced? Water will freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt lowers the temperature that water will freeze. This creates an artificial freeze-thaw cycle that permits more chances for that damaging cycle to occur. With warmer temperatures, the region may be subject to load restrictions earlier in the year.

 Due to continued warm weather patterns, seasonal load restrictions may be implemented on North Dakota state highways as early as next week.

Depending on weather conditions, these restrictions typically go into effect starting in the southwest region of the state and remain in effect until roadbeds have stabilized enough to carry normal traffic.

For updated seasonal load restrictions call 511 or visit the ND Roads map at travel.dot.nd.gov. Email and text alerts are also available through GovDelivery. For more information visit dot.nd.gov.

So this whole idea to open up a pothole discussion came from the sudden arrival of wheel bustin' potholes up and down the strip in Mandan. Like magic they appeared...

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I'm lucky to have gotten this photo taken before this crew magically appeared!

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Keep up the good work everyone! Just like that the crews are out putting down temporary patches so I don't have to weave in and out of lanes like an obstacle course on my way to work. But I promise you if I get cocky thinking they fixed 'em all I'm going to fall into some new pothole pit.

So as an insured driver what should you do after you have a pothole incident?

This from TheBalance.com

A pothole damage claim is a single-car accident, which is filed as an at-fault accident by your insurance carrier. Hitting a pothole is considered a collision. Your collision deductible will apply, and your rates could go up at your next renewal due to filing an at-fault claim.  Sometimes, the damage sustained is a lower dollar amount than your deductible, which would make filing a claim irrelevant.

You can also seek reimbursement from the city, county, state but I'm sure it's a time-consuming process.  Regardless have your trusted mechanic take a peek so you don't cause further damage to your vehicle.

If you've got potholes on your property, give this a watch.

From the YouTube channel of "This Old House", DIY how you can fix a pothole.

So we'd love to hear where your worst pothole experiences have been...just a heads up concerning where dangerous potholes are waiting for us unsuspecting drivers.


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