Pothole damage

A third of drivers suffered pothole damage to their vehicle

A third of drivers have damaged their vehicle by hitting a pothole in the last two years

A third of drivers have damaged their vehicle by hitting a pothole in the last two years

A third of drivers have damaged their vehicle by hitting a pothole in the last two years, according to the AA.

A new AA/Populus survey* of 22,827 AA members found that damaged road surfaces took the greatest toll on drivers in the north of the UK with Scots (44%) taking the biggest pothole hit by some margin. More than a third of drivers in northern England, Yorkshire and Humberside, and South-east have had their car damaged, while those in Eastern England and Northern Ireland (29%) have suffered least.

The ‘pothole plague’ is getting worse after the recent cold snap followed a wet 2012. Potholes form as water freezes and expands in cracks in the road surface. Passing traffic opens up the damaged road surface and rain washes out loose material, deepening it further.

  • Third of drivers suffered pothole damage to their vehicle
  • Pothole peril worst in Scotland with 44% coming to grief
  • 10% suffer damaged wheel, tyre and steering alignment
  • AA Insurance reports pothole claims doubled in January
  • Roads a ‘national embarrassment’ says AA

Pothole damage league table

  Region Pothole damage in last 2 years (%)

1

Scotland 44%
2 North-west 35%
3 North-east 34%
3 South-east 34%
3 Yorkshire & Humberside 34%
6 South-west 33%
7 Wales 31%
7 West Midlands 31%
9 East Midlands 30%
9 London 30%
11 Eastern 29%
11 Northern Ireland 29%
  UK average 33%

How much damage?

The results show that tyres and wheels bear the brunt of the impact with 13 per cent of respondents reporting a damaged tyre and 6 per cent sustaining damage to both tyre and wheel. An unlucky one-in-ten has had their steering knocked out of alignment as well as damage to the wheel.

In the worst case, a handful (28) of people said the incident resulted in them losing control and crashing into anther vehicle or object.

Pothole advice

Andy Smith, AA patrol of the year, says: “It’s no surprise that drivers in the north have taken the biggest pothole hit but AA patrols report that as soon as you get off the main road in many rural areas, it’s like being on an Alpine mountain pass – you’re often in first gear traversing huge craters.

“If you see one up ahead, slow down and try to avoid swerving round it as you risk having a more serious accident.

“Regularly check your tyre pressures and look for any bulges, nicks or unusual tyre wear, which could spell pothole trouble. If in any doubt, get them checked at a garage or tyre specialist.”

The fact that one third of our members have had their car damaged by potholes is a damning indictment of the state of our roads – they’re a national embarrassment

Edmund King, AA president

National embarrassment?

Edmund King, AA president, says: “These survey results showing more pothole damage in Scotland and the north broadly reflects what our AA Streetwatch volunteers found in their last pothole count. The fact that one third of our members have had their car damaged by potholes is a damning indictment of the state of our roads – they’re a national embarrassment.

“More broadly it doesn’t reflect well on the standing of our nation in the eyes of tourists and indeed foreign investors. A decent road infrastructure must be a minimum requirement for a progressive 21st century country.”

Claiming for pothole damage

The AA is encouraging road users to report potholes to local authorities to allow them to repair them.

Usually the repair cost won’t justify an insurance claim. However, you might be able to claim for the cost of any repairs from the highway authority if they were aware of the defect. Last year, the average compensation claim paid was £583**

Pothole factfile

According to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey:

  • One-time cost to stop the rotting road surfaces: £38m per local authority (total £9.8bn);
  • 20,355 potholes filled 2011/12 – AA estimates that there are about a third more holes to fill this year;
  • Average cost to fill one pothole: £55 (England including London) £35 (Wales);
  • Average compensation claim paid: £583.

(12 February 2013)

* Source: Populus interviewed 22,827 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 21-25 January 2013. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

** In 2011/12, £35 million was lost to compensation claims and extra staff costs due to potholes.