Harsh Winter Still Playing Havoc With Tyres
Pothole damage to Britain’s roads could cost £10 billion and take more than a decade to fix, according to Bridgestone. The tyre manufacturer has reported a 10-fold increase in the number of tyres damaged due to potholes from September 2009 to March this year, compared with the same period 12 months ago.
Bridgestone’s statement follows the worst UK winter weather in 30 years, with heavy snow and ice bringing most of the country to a standstill. The constant freeze-thaw cycle has caused potholes to spring up everywhere. Such craters occur when water gets into the cracks on the road surface. When the water freezes, it causes the crack to expand, opening up the road surface for more water to seep in. A perfect combination of ice and snow, heavy traffic and already poor road conditions leaves us with a slowly eroding road surface and great big holes everywhere.
According to the company, Bridgestone has been “inundated” with incidents of motorists pulling in to their dealerships across the country because of cuts and tears to their tyres and wheel misalignment. One in 12 tyres that have needed replacing in Bridgestone dealerships over the winter have been due to pothole damage.
Andy Dingley, senior analyst at Bridgestone, says: “We have definitely seen an increase in motorists coming into our customers dealerships to replace their tyres as a result of pothole damage. Whilst potholes cannot always be avoided, we urge drivers to be aware of them – if you have to drive over them, do it with caution and do it slowly.”
With the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) estimating that the average pothole costs £70 to repair and road damage found every 120 yards, this will take 15 years to repair and cost local authorities £10-billion to fix Britain’s pothole problem. This could have severe implications on our tyres and lead to motorists forking out on replacement tyres if the problem isn’t dealt with soon.
However, the risk of tyre damage from a pothole can be reduced if they are looked after and well maintained, as Dingley explains: “One way to minimise damage from potholes is to ensure they are correctly inflated to begin with. Under or over inflation of your tyres can cause even greater structural damage to the tyre if the car comes into contact with a pothole.”
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