Saturday, June 23Serving the aftermarket

Potholes lead to safety concerns for large number of drivers

The dire state of British roads has led to some 85% of drivers fearing for the safety of themselves and other road users, according to new research from AA Cars.
The AA-Populus poll, which surveyed over 21,000 drivers, found that 92% are concerned about potential damage to their vehicle as a result of poor road conditions. In fact, this very problem has led to more than half (52%) of drivers or almost 17 million motorists, experiencing vehicle damage in recent years.

Besides safety and financial considerations, Brits are also worried about the impact the roads have on their day-to-day lives, with three quarters (75%) of drivers becoming increasingly concerned about higher levels of traffic leading to longer journey times. The dismal state of British roads means that 4.6 million drivers are reluctant to use their cars for local journeys, while a further 3.7 million avoid longer car journeys because of this.

This is an issue that seems to be a particular problem in the UK; when thinking about the state of British roads in comparison to our European neighbours, almost half (46%) of drivers agreed that road conditions are generally better in mainland Europe than on home soil in the UK.

The issues with Britain’s road network mean that almost three quarters (72%) of drivers are concerned that their car tax isn’t being used appropriately.

This news comes just weeks after the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA)’s ALARM survey warned that more than 24,400 miles of road have been identified as needing essential maintenance in the next year.

Simon Benson, director of motoring services at AA Cars, says: “With many local councils lacking the funds to adequately repair roads, the country’s highway system is deteriorating – which in turn puts drivers at risk and makes pothole-related damage to cars increasingly likely.

“Clearly, drivers are well aware of this problem, as we can see by their distinct lack of confidence in the state of British roads.

“If you’ve spotted a pothole, you should report this via www.gov.uk. If your vehicle has been damaged as a result of hitting a pothole or any other issued with the road, you may be eligible for compensation. Again, you should be able to find what organisation to contact for claims purposes via www.gov.uk – be prepared to explain exactly what the damage was, why you think they are responsible, the specific location where the incident occurred and the date and time the damage was caused.”

The findings back up a recent survey by Kwik Fit, which found that over the last year, potholes have caused damage to vehicles costing a total of £915 million to repair.

This is an increase of 34% on the figure of £684 million two years ago. The average cost of repairing damage to components including tyres, wheels, suspension and bodywork has risen only slightly – from £108.60 in 2016 to £111 this year. However, the number of drivers whose vehicles have suffered damage has skyrocketed over the last 24 months – from 6.3million drivers a year to 8.2million – leading to the total bill for repairs increasing by £231 million.

70% of drivers say they have hit at least one pothole a week over the last twelve months, with a quarter (25%) hitting one every single day. Drivers in the north west of the country have the worst experience, with over a third (36%) of drivers suffering a pothole impact on a daily basis.