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We all understand the annoyance of the pothole. The fear of clunking into one unseen, or perhaps there was just no safe opportunity to swerve and avoid it. You are not quite sure what damage has been done, but you know that it can’t be good. Worse still, is when a road is littered with them - like some hideous computer game to test your avoidance skills.

When the road freezes and thaws, the resulting water can erode the ground beneath the asphalt – this usually causes the asphalt to fall or crack: creating the pothole. Consequently, bad weather (particularly freezing winter conditions) make the problem worse.

  • Potholes are one of the biggest irritants among motorists.
  • Motorists reported an average of 7 potholes per trip.
  • The total combined depth of UK potholes is estimated to be 33KM.
  • 40% of motorists say they are willing to pay more in taxes/tolls for the problem to be fixed regularly.
pothole van

How much does it cost to repair the pothole?

  • Local councils spend around £169 per pothole repair. Unfortunately, many of these are ‘patch and repair’ short-term fixes and will need repairing again before long.
  • The Department of Transport recently committed £201 million for road maintenance. But according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance they would need to spend around £9.79 billion over the next 10 years to restore all roads to an acceptable condition.

How much is spent on repairing the damage to vehicles?

  • Around £4.9 billion is spent by motorists to fix damage to their vehicle caused by hitting a pothole. But only £6.9 million has been paid in compensation by local authorities. Just 1% of the total bill.
  • At year end in March 2016, £684 million had been spent on damage caused by potholes. The reported damage has risen by 77% in 3 years.
  • Nearly a third of drivers who hit a pothole in the past year needed to repair the damage: tyres (£5.9 million), suspension (£3.8 million), wheels (£3.7 million), steering (£1.7 million), bodywork (£1.3 million) and exhausts (£1.2 million)
  • In 2017/18 the South East of England paid over £12 million in repair costs to fix 143,000 potholes in the area. Surrey also paid the highest compensation for vehicle damage with £446,812.

How can we spot damage?

Educating drivers is important. In a recent survey only 6% of drivers believe that they could spot the symptoms of damage to suspension, but this is understandable as it tends to happen gradually. Only a third of drivers claimed to know how to check their tyres for signs of damage and just 49% said that they knew how to change a tyre.

Signs of pothole damage to your vehicle:

  • Signs of bulging in the sides of your tyres (the area surrounding the alloys).
  • Dents or leaks in the undercarriage.
  • Less responsive steering. This is usually a sign of damage to your car alignment/shock absorbers and happens over a period of time – after repeated contact with potholes.

If you are unsure or think you have detected any damage, then visit your local garage for a professional opinion.

fiat road

How real is the danger when driving?

  • 1 in 3 drivers have reported an accident or near miss because of a pothole.
  • 17% of these drivers said the pothole caused them to lose control of their vehicle.
  • 15% said their tyre burst on impact.

What can we do?

  • Drive slowly over and around potholes to limit the damage.
  • It is important to report a pothole to your local authority before it gets any worse.

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Posted on 26th July 2019 at 2:42 PM

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