Billions spent on

‘pothole peril'

Kwik Fit pothole survey, 2024, pothole
Kwik Fit pothole survey, 2024, graphic

NEW data has revealed Britain's motorists are paying a heavy price for deteriorating road surfaces which are said to have cost the country's drivers a total of £1.48 billion in the past year.

The figures are contained in the latest Pothole Impact Tracker report from Kwik Fit which reveals that between 2018 and 2024 drivers spent £9.5bn on vehicle repairs caused by pothole damage.

In 2018, research by the asphalt industry revealed that an estimated £9.31bn was needed to bring the road network up to scratch - a figure that has now grown to £16.3bn.

Over the past year, motorists suffering pothole damage faced an average repair bill of £120, with costs exceeding £300 for 660,000 car owners.

For cars needing repairs after hitting a pothole, the most commonly damaged components were tyres (51 per cent of cases), wheels (34 per cent) and suspension (27 per cent).

One in eight pothole damage repairs included bodywork, 10 per cent involved steering components, while eight per cent saw exhaust damage.

Kwik Fit's research found that in almost half of cases, the damage caused by hitting a pothole was not immediately apparent.

One quarter of drivers suffering damage said that they identified the problem themselves when they checked the car in the days following the impact. However, nearly one in five said the damage was only identified when they took their car to a garage and had it checked by a professional.

Kwik Fit has found that some 60 per cent of drivers say they have hit at least one pothole a week, up from 57 per cent a year ago. In a related finding, 54 per cent of drivers say the road surfaces in their area have deteriorated over the past twelve months, up from 48 per cent in 2023.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: "The worsening condition of our roads is a long term issue, as shown by Kwik Fit's annual PIT report over recent years. We know that council budgets are ever more stretched, but poor road surfaces hit the UK in the pocket through the damage they do to the nation's vehicles.

"Potholes are not just an issue because of the cost to drivers, they present a risk to people's safety.

"We advise drivers who experience any severe pothole impacts to keep monitoring for damage well after the event, and if they have any concerns, pop into a garage to have it checked over."

Kwik Fit has issued the following advice for drivers on how to avoid pot hole damage and what to do if you suffer it.

1. Keep the pressure up: The air in your tyres will help absorb some of the impact from potholes so ensure they are correctly inflated (a golden rule for all motoring, not just for potholes)

2. Reduce speed: Slowing down will give you more time to spot potholes, and reduce the force of the impact should you hit one

3. Give yourself space: Stay a safe distance behind the car in front to give yourself time to react if you see them swerve to avoid a pothole

4. No sudden moves: Try to avoid driving through a pothole if possible, but avoid swerving abruptly, which can risk loss of control or impact with other road users who may be surprised by an unexpected manoeuvre

5. Check for damage: If you do hit a pothole, pay attention to how the car feels - if anything about the car's handling feels different, stop when safe to do so and check all round the car, especially tyres, wheels and suspension.

Remember to check in the following days for damage which may not have been immediately apparent - and if you have any concerns have your car checked by a garage.

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