CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Temperature changes lead to potholes, which can cause dangerous and expensive conditions on the road. The end of the winter months is when these patchy spots in the road begin to form.

Storm Team Meteorologist Chris Bouzakis explained what makes potholes form.

“Potholes develop from the expansion and contraction of groundwater within the roadways. Usually, we see this happen a lot in the wintertime because the ground expands when the water gets in the roadways and freezes. Then when it thaws and we have these big warm-ups that is when the water contracts and leaves us with big craters in the roadways,” he said.

Potholes can come out of nowhere while you’re driving and can result in extensive damage to your tires and your vehicle’s alignment. Any damage to a vehicle comes with a price tag.

According to AAA, the average cost of pothole-related repairs is $306. However, the cost of the damage could exceed thousands of dollars. 

In Massachusetts, Mass DOT will reimburse drivers up to $4,000 for personal injuries caused by potholes. There is no compensation for vehicle damage through MassDOT.

Drivers should safely avoid potholes when possible, and be aware of puddles that might be hiding them. If potholes cannot be safely avoided, experts recommend releasing the brakes and straightening the steering wheel to minimize damages.