We’re almost halfway through winter and it’s been a cold one for much of the country. When temperatures drop, snow falls, and ice forms, they can all cause road hazards for both vehicles and pedestrians. Here, our asphalt paving company shares some of the most common types of winter road hazards you should be aware of:
Frost heaves are the result of moisture combining with soil. Once the soil gets wet from precipitation and freezes, it expands the heave and creates pressure that pushes the asphalt up. Once it melts, the asphalt sinks back down. Over time, this freeze-thaw cycle can form cracks, dents, or even potholes.
Shifted Drain Covers
As concrete and asphalt shifts during the freeze-thaw cycles of the winter, it can disrupt secure elements like drain covers or catch basins. What was once in place during the fall can suddenly become loose and dangerous to bicyclists, joggers, dog-walkers, and other pedestrians.
During a strong storm, winds, ice, snow, and more can dislodge many different things and send them falling, rolling, or sailing to the ground. Everything from branches to power lines to garbage cans and more can become a danger to drivers and cause an unwanted accident.
Black ice can form in two different ways: when light rain or mixed precipitation falls on a road surface that’s below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or when super-cooled fog droplets accumulate on areas that lose heat from both sides, like bridges and overpasses. Both of these situations can form a thin layer of ice that’s dangerously slippery and virtually undetectable to drivers until they’re driving on it.
Snow/Ice on Cars
When bad weather occurs, it’s customary (and good safety practice) to clear off the snow and ice on your vehicle. This includes your roof, headlights, taillights, windows, and more. If you don’t, and begin driving, the airflow around your car can lift off any uncleared precipitation and send it flying into the air. This can cause a distraction (and even damage) to other cars on the road.
As our asphalt paving company said before, potholes can develop when an area of asphalt has expanded and compressed so much, it cracks and forms a hole. During the winter, these potholes can fill up with snow and become virtually undetectable to drivers and when a vehicle hits a pothole, it can damage tires, rims, alignment, suspension, exhaust system, and more.