Potholes are a common problem on the roads, particularly in colder winter climates. With an 11% increase in breakdowns caused by potholes in the last three months of 2017, and the coming threat of additional bad weather conditions, the pothole problem in this country is on the rise. In previous years potholes have still been an issue, but they had never quite reached the harmful levels that they have for UK drivers in the past two years. But why is this?

The Cause

Potholes are created through moisture making its way into a crack in the road. These then expand as the weather becomes cold enough for the moisture to freeze; the holes then grow larger due to vehicles driving over it. This further damages the structure of the road’s lower layer. The deterioration of the roads is a result of the poor weather conditions, including growing rainfall, snowy and icy conditions, that we experienced in the final quarter of 2017.

The impact can be seen in these statistics from the RAC, who tended to 3,565 vehicles with defects due to poor road surface quality during the second quarter of 2017. That’s 1,290 more callouts than the same time period in 2016.

The Impact

As a result of the increased amount of potholes in the UK, drivers are facing costs of, on average, £750 million a year due to pothole damage. The majority of damages caused by potholes are wheel and tyre related, which can lead to an expensive repair for drivers. This includes cracked alloys, buckled wheels, suspension damage and steering alignment as the most affected areas. RAC reports also conclude that a third of all recorded vehicle damage is a result of potholes. Damages, of course, pale in significance to the possibility of car accidents caused by loss of control, which is a real prospect in some cases.

The Real Deal

Encountering a pothole can be worrying, so here are some tips to help:

  • Pay attention to the road, as you’ll be able to spot potholes better.
  • Keep an eye on your speed, especially in wet weather.
  • Leave enough space between you and other cars so you can see potholes in front of you.
  • If you think you’ve sustained damage to your vehicle then get it checked out by a professional as soon as you can.
  • By maintaining the ideal tyre pressure, your vehicle will be better safeguarded against potholes.
  • If you have to drive over potholes, ensure that you do so carefully. Slow down and keep a firm hand on your steering wheel, so as not to lose control.

If you experience pothole damage on your car, then you can get in touch with your local council or authority to report the issue and seek advice on next steps, or use the Gov.uk report a pothole service. Alternatively, if you have questions about pothole-related damages, get in touch today.