Potholes are now causing £915m of damage to cars each year
The cost of pothole-related damage to vehicles has jumped by 34 per cent in the last two years – to more than £900 million.
As councils and road authorities are left gauging the impact of the latest bad weather on roads, new figures show that the cost to drivers has reached £915 million a year. That’s up from £684m two years ago. While the cost of repairs hasn’t risen substantially – up from and average of £108.60 to £111 – the number of drivers suffering such incidents has risen from an estimated 6.3m to 8.2m between 2016 and 2018.
A poll of drivers has found that almost three quarters (70 per cent) have hit a pothole in the last year, with a quarter saying it was a daily occurrence for them. Chief among the reason for hitting them were weather or road conditions, such as the pothole being hidden by a puddle or it being too dark to spot, but almost half of motorists (47 per cent) also said they had to make a deliberate decision to hit the pothole as avoiding it would have compromised their own safety, and that of other road users. Of those unlucky enough to hit a pothole a quarter discovered it had damaged their car. The most common repairs were to tyres (4.2 million), wheels (2.7 million), suspension (2.4 million) and bodywork (1.2 million).
London topped the table for the total cost of repairs at more than £160m, with the south-west (£110m) and Yorkshire and the Humber (just under £100m) next in the hall of shame.
Crumbling infrastructure The latest figures, revealed in a survey by KwikFit, echo reports from the RAC, which saw an 11 per cent increase in pothole-related callouts in the last quarter of 2017. Drivers overwhelmingly believe that the nation’s roads are deteriorating, with three quarters saying that the road surfaces on their most frequently made journeys are in a worse condition than five years ago.
This mirrors the findings of the ALARM report from the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which reveals that one in five local roads in England and Wales are now classed as ‘structurally poor’ – a 20 per cent increase on last year. Some drivers said that the poor condition of the roads had forced them to change their driving habits, with one in eight saying they drove a longer route as it had better road surfaces and some even going so far as to change their vehicle to cope with poor roads. Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says:
“The poor condition of the road network is hitting motorists’ wallets ever harder. Unfortunately, experience of past years has shown us that the recent cold weather will only make the problem worse and we are likely to see even more drivers suffering serious damage from impacts with potholes.”