The UK’s pothole problem put in the spotlight

7th March 2013

Drivers who commute around Scotland and the north of England are three times more likely to suffer damage on their vehicles due to potholes than motorists based anywhere else in the UK.

This is according to new research carried out by automotive warranty specialist Warranty Direct, which found that the top ten regions across the UK where suspension failure is most prevalent are all based in the northern half of the country.

After analysing data from more than 50,000 live consumer policies over the past four years, the organisation suggested that one in ten motorists driving around the Angus region of Scotland will receive at least one unwanted bill from their local garage as a result of suspension repairs.

This statistic meant the Scottish region finished top of the list where the rate of suspension failure is concerned.

In contrast, East Sussex was bottom of the pile, with just 3.2 per cent of that area’s motorists expected to encounter a problem due to the UK’s pothole epidemic sometime in 2013.

Scotland did not fare well in the Warranty Direct as a whole though, as is evident by the fact that Renfrewshire had a suspension failure rate of 9.76 per cent and Lanarkshire just behind in third place with 9.73 per cent suffering pothole-related problems.

In fact, Scottish regions covered the entire top ten spots bar North Yorkshire (in seventh place with a suspension failure rate of 7.28 per cent), Tyne and Wear (eighth position with 7.03 per cent) and Cumbria (tenth place with 6.52 per cent).

The scale of the problem is exacerbated by the suggestion that drivers across the UK currently pay out more than £1 million a day to cover the costs of repairs to their beloved vehicles after it suffered damage to its suspension and axle components.

This huge figure was worked out on the Department for Transport’s basis that 2.8 million cars are on British roads at the moment.

Duncan McClure Fisher, the managing director of Warranty Direct, was also keen to add: “It isn’t just the catastrophic suspension failures that potholes can cause that are the problem.

“Continued driving over potholes or other uneven road obstacles, like speed humps, gives your car’s suspension a regular pounding and the cumulative damage this causes will eventually result in a breakage.

“With so much of our road network resembling Swiss cheese, it’s almost impossible to avoid. This is especially true of places, like Scotland, which have a high concentration of rural roads, as these get less attention from local authorities than major highways.”

Should drivers inadvertently hit a pothole during their commute, Stuart Jackson, the chairman of TyreSafe, believes there are a number of precautions that should be taken to prevent a problem from becoming much worse.

In the days after a vehicle has collided with a pothole, motorists should regularly monitor the motor’s tyre pressures to determine whether there is any gradual loss of pressure.

The alloy wheels of a car should also be checked thoroughly, as even a single hairline fracture can lead to air escaping and thus making the vehicle very dangerous to drive.

Mr Jackson underlined: "Hitting a pothole can cause a number of tyre and wheel problems which can have a serious impact on road safety."

Need help with pothole damage or tyre advice? Get in touch with ATS Euromaster without delay.

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