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Cost of pothole damage rises despite drop in mileage

Road pothole

New research indicates that the impact of the pandemic has resulted in the average driver reducing their mileage by 42% over the last year, yet there has been NO equivalent drop in the pothole damage to the nation’s vehicles.

This year’s PIT Report (Pothole Impact Tracker) for Kwik Fit reveals that the total cost to UK drivers from pothole damage over the last 12 months rose slightly compared to the year before, reaching £1.267 billion compared to £1.249bn for the year to March 2020.

Kwik Fit’s PIT Report tracks the impact of potholes on an annual basis and its research shows that this year, despite reduced mileage, drivers have hit an average of 11 potholes per month, and some 10.2 million have suffered damage to their car as a result.

Bald, worn and damaged tyres - © Gareth Herincx

As tyres are a car’s first line of defence against potholes, they are the most commonly damaged component, suffered by 4.2 million drivers. This is followed by suspension damage (3.0 million), wheels (2.8mn) and steering (2.0mn).

The average cost of repairs drivers have faced has been £127.20 – an increase of 11% on the previous year. While slightly fewer drivers have suffered damage than in the previous year, this increase in average cost has resulted in the slight rise in the national repair bill.

Nearly half (48%) of all drivers say that the condition of the road surfaces in their local area are worse than 12 months ago, with only 12% saying they are better (35% say they are about the same).

Drivers in Scotland are most likely to say their roads are worse than a year ago, while motorists in London are least likely.

Drivers hitting potholes may find that the damage is not immediately apparent. Pothole impacts can often result in slow punctures, damage on the inside wall of the tyre, or cracks in the wheel which are not obvious straight away. Any driver who hits a pothole with significant force should monitor their car carefully in the days following the incident, to ensure that their vehicle has remained unscathed.

“We are all very aware of the massive shock there has been to the public finances as a result of the pandemic,” said Roger Griggs of Kwik Fit.

“However, the condition of our roads is a long term issue as shown by our PIT report over recent years.

“Potholes are not just an issue because of the cost to drivers, they present a risk to people’s safety. We need to ensure that any funds made available are used strategically and effectively and not just for short term patching up of the worst affected areas.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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