March 21, 2017 11:31 am

Pothole season: How they form and tips to protect your car

WATCH: Winnipeg mechanic says pothole problem is the worst he’s seen in year. How do potholes form in the first place?

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WINNIPEG — Spring is officially here, meaning the unofficial start to pothole season has also popped up across the city.

As city crews work to patch up the moon-like craters and crumbling pavement, many drivers are left having to slow down or risk damaging their vehicle.

The fluctuations between warm and cool temperatures in the early spring are what cause the potholes and the headaches that follow. This is how it works:

  1. The warm weather causes water to seep through the cracks in the pavement.
  2. It builds up and softens the road base.
  3. When it gets cold again, the absorbed water freezes and expands.
  4. It then pushes the pavement upward.
  5. Then the water dries and a hole is left in the roadway.
  6. The weakened pavement collapses, leaving a pothole.

The city said crews are out patching potholes 24-7.

READ MORE: Plenty of potholes causing damaging drives for Winnipeggers

“The number of crews varies from day-to-day but generally there are a minimum of six crews to a maximum of 12 crews per day,” Lisa Fraser, with the City of Winnipeg said.

“We have pothole patching crews out year round based on need and we typically ramp up pothole patching efforts when temperatures begin to reach zero degrees.”

The city’s budget for pothole patching is $1.8 million.

Tips to protect your car

If you’re hoping to avoid damaging your vehicle, Manitoba Pubic Insurance offered some tips for driving on pothole-ridden streets:

READ MORE: MPI issues warning about potholes

  • Reduce the vehicle speed when approaching a pothole. The greater the speed usually results in more severity in damage.
  • Do not swerve; you might hit a vehicle beside you.
  • Try to avoid driving in a lane which is water covered; potholes could be under the water.
  • Check your tires; make sure they are properly inflated and have enough tread.

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