Mind the bumps: Pothole season has arrived

At this time of year, the freeze-thaw cycle can wreak havoc on our roads, causing more potholes to form

It's that time of year in Canada: car trap season.

You're driving along in a car when you feel an unmistakable jolt. You've hit a pothole.

It's a common occurrence across Canada in the winter and spring, due to numerous freeze-thaw cycles.

When water freezes, it expands and takes up more space, causing the pavement around it to expand while causing holes and cracks beneath the surface.

When the ice melts, the pavement contracts, and water gets trapped inside the holes, weakening the integrity of the road.

It eventually gives way in the form of a pothole after enough heavy cars and trucks have driven over vulnerable spots.

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The Weather Network - driving over pothole

So you've hit a bump, and now your car has sustained damage

As cautious as you're being, some potholes are unavoidable.

If your car sustains damages from a pothole, the first step is to make sure you're a safe distance from oncoming traffic before exiting your vehicle and assessing the damage, said Raymond Chan of CAA South Central Ontario in an interview with The Weather Network in 2020.

If the car is inoperable, call for roadside assistance.

Don't forget to check your city or town's website to see if it will cover the repairs.

"A lot of municipalities offer a program where you can submit for reimbursement to the municipality should there be any [pothole-related] issues," he says.

Raymond Chan from CAA South Central Ontario

Raymond Chan from CAA South Central Ontario advised drivers to report potholes to city officials. (The Weather Network)

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If you have potholes in your area, contact city officials and be patient, because winter and spring weather can delay road repairs.

Potholes need to be fairly dry to be patched up, and freezing temperatures can make the process difficult because asphalt needs to be hot to when it's applied to the road.

To learn more about how potholes develop, watch the video that leads this article.

(Header image courtesy of MarcBruxelle via Getty Images)

Editor's note: This article contains files from Emily Vukovic, former reporter at The Weather Network