It's that time of year for New Jersey. When the weather starts to become more dynamic with a tug of war between warmer and colder days.

Combine the changing air temperatures with all the chemicals and salt used to treat our roads from winter storms, and you get the recipe for crumbling streets.

It happens every year in the Garden State, and sadly, there's not a whole lot we can do about it. Unfortunately, it usually costs quite a bit for the state to repair our potholes when they form.

But it's not only the changing temperatures that cause the problem. It's a combination of different factors. With the weather, precipitation also plays a role. The freezing and thawing of water are just some of the key factors in creating these massive craters.

The constant expansion and contraction of water between cracks in the road helps contribute to the formation of potholes. And when we're transitioning from cold to warm, there's not much we can do to control it.

Welcome to Pothole City! Can anyone say "Roadwork Needed?" (Craig Allen photo)

Another factor is the weight of our vehicles. When cars constantly drive over those weak points, it furthers the creation of potholes on our roadways.

The result of driving over some of these craters can be costly. It may cause a blowout of one or more of a vehicle's tires, or possibly force the driver to lose control resulting in a crash.

Sebastian Gorczowski
Sebastian Gorczowski

A driver may also be tempted to slam on the brakes or give the vehicle a sudden jolt to avoid a pothole. It's a tough split decision choice to make, especially if a roadway is full of traffic.

Now if you hit a particularly serious pothole, keep an eye on your vehicle for signs of possible damage due to the impact.


Bubbles or odd spots on tires

Much like how we may bruise from a hard impact, tires may do the same. If any part of the lining of the tire gets ruined, there's a chance a bubble, or bulge, may form.

Ryan McVay

Sudden vibrations

If any sudden vibrations start to occur after an impact, there's a possibility something in the suspension got damaged, or possible damage occurred to the rim.

Screengrab: YouTube, ChrisFix
Screengrab: YouTube, ChrisFix

Low tire pressure

Whether slow or sudden, low tire pressure after an impact could mean the tire got punctured during impact. If you notice any of the above, have your vehicle looked at right away.

Aside from tire damage, it's also worth knowing what to look for on the roads where possible potholes may form. If you notice any of this, there's a chance a pothole may form in the near future.

New Jersey potholes
(Chris Coleman, Townsquare Media NJ)

Sudden cracks in a particular spot

This can be hard to spot when driving, but try to be observant of the road. If you notice a concentrated spot with a bunch of cracks, that may be a sign a pothole is about to break open.

This is especially important if the affected spot is where car tires drive over frequently. They can open suddenly, especially in the spring, thanks to the constant freeze and thaw of water that seeps into the cracks.

Pothole in the parking lot of a Ewing shopping center
Pothole in the parking lot of a Ewing shopping center (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

The seams of the road get rougher

A very common weak point on roadways is along the seams. That's where two separate sections of the paved road come together. It's a natural weak point on the road, and one to pay close attention to.

parking lot potholes in Neptune
Parking lot potholes in Neptune (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Watch for any other oddities

Roads take a beating in the wintertime, and potholes can open up anywhere. Along with the two areas mentioned above, keep your eyes open for any other spots that look particularly rough.

A pothole on Eggerts Crossing Road in Ewing
A pothole on Eggerts Crossing Road in Ewing (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

You may not be able to stop a pothole from opening, but at least you can formulate an idea as to where they may form on roads you frequently travel.

It's never a fun game to play, but dodge the pothole is a must on New Jersey roads this time of year. Eventually, the road crews will get them patched up and we'll be back to normal.

Electronic sign warning of road work
Electronic sign warning of road work (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

In the meantime, just be cautious of those massive craters.


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