HAVING witnessed what can only be described as a mini-chasm opening up on a road I regular use I can only concur with the current criticism of the state of the nation's roads.
Potholes have hit drivers' finances hard over the last twelve months, a new study reveals.
Research for Kwik Fit, the UK's largest automotive servicing and repair company, has found that in the last year British motorists have had to fund repair bills totalling Â£684 million as a result of damage caused by hitting potholes.
Across the country, 6.3 million drivers suffered damage from hitting potholes in their car, with motorists having to pay out an average of £108.60 for repairs to tyres, wheels, suspension, exhausts or other bodywork.
The majority of this financial burden is falling on motorists - the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, reveals that only Â£13.5 million has been paid out in compensation in England and Wales, just 2.1% of the total cost of damage.
Hitting a pothole is most likely to have caused damage in Yorkshire and Humberside andin London, where over a third (37% and 35% respectively) of drivers hitting a pothole had to make repairs.
Welsh drivers were most likely to be financially unscathed from the impact of a pothole, although even here, 17% faced repair bills.
Kwik Fit found that collectively, the greatest financial impact has been on drivers in the South East, who have had to pay a whopping Â£108,149,130 for repairs caused by potholes, followed by drivers in London, with the capital's roads causing Â£91,368,450 worth of damage.
Per individual, the costliest damage was suffered in the East of England, where drivers had to pay an average of £163.68, nearly three times as much as drivers in Wales, where the average repair bill was £61.83. Welsh drivers have collectively faced the lowest bill of all regions at £12.4million, less than half the cost to drivers in the North East of England, the second lowest region.
The problem has been caused by the wettest November-January period on record, and surface water has been a significant factor in many drivers hitting potholes. Some 31% of motorists who hit a pothole in the past 12 months said they did so because it was hidden by water and they thought it was just a puddle.
It seems to me that if more people made claims for pothole damage more might be done and it is vital to report their presence to councils.
But an important safety message that comes out of this is never drive fast through puddles - they may not be as innocent or shallow as they seem.