How do Potholes form?

Road Pothole

Understanding Potholes...

To put it briefly, a pothole is a type of surface defect that forms when water seeps into the pavement and freezes, causing it to expand and crack. This can lead to the formation of different types of potholes such as road, driveway, and car park potholes. Read on for more information.

Potholes may have been named after potters who dug clay from Roman roads over 3,000 years ago. This clay was then transformed into pots. People who rode over the holes in the ground recognised that they were created by potters. As a result, they referred to these holes as "potholes."

Granted, this hypothesis may be somewhat hard to believe, but it's still entertaining to contemplate!

How do Potholes form?

Potholes start as small cracks in the road's surface. Over time, these openings absorb water, which expands when it freezes - this process is known as the freeze-thaw cycle.

This expansion makes the cracks grow larger and deeper. With heavy traffic passing over these weakened spots, pieces of pavement break away.

Asphalt degradation from age or poor construction can accelerate this damage. As vehicles continue to drive over these spots, they cause more stress on the road.

Traffic or additional water ingress dislodges broken pieces of asphalt, wearing down the road and eventually creating a pothole.

Potholes get worse and more numerous if road repairs aren't done quickly, which is dangerous for everyone's safety on the roads.

Local authorities must ensure that public roads are safe by filling potholes or seeking help from local contractors.

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How do potholes form?

The Impact of Potholes on Vehicles and Pedestrians

Potholes present a significant danger to vehicles, resulting in expensive fixes and traffic interruptions.

Potholes can be dangerous for your car, causing tire blowouts, suspension problems, and damaged wheel rims. You'll be left wondering about the cost of repairs and if such a thing as pothole compensation exists.

Drivers frequently face sudden jolts and loss of vehicle control when encountering these surface defects, particularly at high speeds. These unexpected encounters with potholes contribute significantly to road safety concerns and infrastructure deterioration.

Pedestrians also face dangers as they have to avoid potholes on pavements, which can cause them to trip and fall. In many urban areas where foot traffic is high alongside busy roads, pedestrians stepping around or into potholes risk injury or accidents involving vehicles trying to avoid the same pot hole.

Impact of Potholes in the UK


In summary, it's essential we understand how a pothole is formed on our highway and to recognise the on-going impact these surface defects have on road users, as well as the UK's highway infrastructure.

Recognising the impact of potholes on both vehicles and pedestrians highlights the immediate need for preventive measures.

The UK Department for Transport has redirected £36 billion from the abandoned HS2 project, with a massive £6.5 billion of that funding being used towards tackling the UK's #PotholePandemic. It will be interesting to see how this money is used for maintaining the UK's future highway infrastructure, going forward.

Check out Meon's collection of pothole repair products, created with the goal of being the most effective choice for you, assuring ease of use and time saved on the job.