Security and Safety

How Hot Summer Days Can Damage Texas Roads

By Abi Grise Morgan 6.6.22

Texas gets hot. “Heavens to Betsy!” kind of hot. So, it’s a good thing Texas roads are constructed with high heat in mind. They’re five layers deep, and the top layer — the one you often see emitting a blurry mirage — is a mixture of asphalt and concrete. The concrete is important, because, if roads were made entirely with asphalt, which liquifies at 250 degrees, they might just melt into a Dali-esque puddle on an August afternoon.

So no, Texas roads won’t melt into soup beneath your tires unless they’re improperly constructed (uncommon, but did occur in Erath County in 2017) or haven’t had time to “cure” before drivers run over them (also unlikely). But concrete-laden, piping-hot roads still pose hazards to drivers, pedestrians, and four-legged friends.

Hot Days Can Cause Texas Roads to Buckle

Texas roads are laid in sections that interlock together, so there’s a little space between each section of road. On cold days, the sections of road contract. On hot days, they expand. There’s usually a little bit of wiggle room in between the sections, but if they’re too close together or swell more than usual on an especially hot day, roads can buckle.

Road buckles can look like a wide crack or a protrusion in the road. The space between roads and bridges are common spots for buckles. When you roll over a bad buckle, it can impact your tires, your suspension, and your driving.

What to Do if You Spot a Road Buckle

Do not drive over a road buckle if you can help it. Slow down, engage your blinkers, and drive along the shoulder of the road if it is clear and safe. If the buckle is on a state highway, report it to the Texas Department of Transportation (1.800.558.9368). For city and country roads, call your local transportation authorities.

Hot to Trot: Scorching Roads and Pedestrians

Paved roads absorb and trap heat. On a sunny, sweltering day, roads bake in the sun and can reach temperatures far higher than the air temperatures you’ll read in the weather forecast. Be especially wary of dark, newly paved roads.

Obviously, you’re not going to want to walk barefoot on a hot road — but don’t forget to protect your pup’s paws, too! Walk your dog in the grass and consider purchasing adorable, heat-resistant doggie booties. They’re 100% justified and 100% cute.

Beware of Tire Blowouts

The good news: Heat won’t melt your tires. The bad news: Between the expanding, hot air inside and the friction of the hot road beneath your wheels, overinflated tires are a ticking time bomb for a blowout on a summer day. Monitor your tire pressure throughout the summer months (especially during a heat wave) and let out any excess air.

Stay Safe on the Roads This Summer

Navigating a Texas heat wave can feel like a beatdown, but by keeping an eye out for road hazards and monitoring your tire pressure, you’ll have safe travels on all your summer adventures. Ready your vehicle for upcoming road trips by checking out our tune-up guide for first-time car owners.

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