If you’re a UK driver, you’ll know at least one road that is plagued by potholes and know that they cost motorists and local authorities millions of pounds in repair bills every year.
Shocking freedom of information figures have recently unveiled the growing scale of this problem – revealing that there is now one pothole for every mile of road in the UK and if Britain’s potholes were gathered collectively in one place, they would be twice the size of the Isle of Wight.
But it’s not just the sheer scale of the existing problem that’s alarming – it’s also the cost. In the past financial year councils have paid a total of £2.5 million worth of compensation to motorists who claim that their cars have been damaged by the potholes in the roads around the UK.
And as the UK is hit by harsh and extreme summer and winter conditions, road surfaces are likely to only get worse – increasing the scale of the problem and costing local authorities and drivers much more money that they do not necessarily have available.
How to protect your vehicle from potholes
Hitting a pothole is very frustrating – particularly when it comes unexpectedly and you don’t know what damage has been done to your vehicle. Sometimes damage is unavoidable – affecting the suspension, wheel rims and tyres in particular.
From 2012 to 2013, 32,600 compensation claims were submitted to UK councils as a result of damage to vehicles caused by potholes in the roads and although it is possible to notify your local council when you find a new pothole, a lack of funding means that they do not always get repaired straight away.
If you do hit a pothole, it is highly advisable that you should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and assess any potential damage it may have caused to your vehicle.
Hitting a pothole at a low speed can cause damage to your tyres, wheels and steering alignment but if you hit it at a higher speed, more serious damage can be caused and you ultimately risk losing control of the vehicle. Never swerve to avoid a pothole as this could cause you to hit another vehicle, potentially causing both damage to the car and injury to the passengers.
Motor trade Insurance broker Unicom Insurance receives many claims due to pothole damage and urges that prevention is the best form of cure. If you discover a new pothole, make sure that you use the government’s online service for reporting potholes to make it known – this will urge local authorities to fix the problem before it causes any serious damage or gets worse.
And if you run a motor trade business, make sure your employees are aware of potholes and know how to check their vehicle for damage. If you’re in any doubt, make sure that you get the vehicle checked over by a mechanic to ensure it is still safe to drive.
Hazards reported by Month via http://www.fillthathole.org.uk/hazards/monthly_totals
Unicom Insurance are UK based regulated specialists of Motor Trade Insurance. You can connect with Unicom Insurance on Google+ to keep up to date with all the latest news and stories from the Motoring Industry.
“Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.
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