As winter sets in, we are reminded that, not only is December the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to beware of potholes. Research by Opinium of more than 2,000 UK motorists, on behalf of InsuretheGap.com, has revealed that one in four (29 per cent) have damaged their car on speedhumps or potholes, rising to almost one in three (32 per cent) in rural areas. With standing water making it extremely difficult to distinguish between a mere surface puddle and a deep and potentially vehicle-damaging gaping hole in the road, these figures are sure to rise during the coming winter months.
The UK government has launched an audit into the mapping of potholes in England. Aided by data from on-road businesses such as Uber, Deliveroo and Tesco in addition to local highway authorities and highway data and mapping company Gaist, the Department for Transport will identify ‘pothole hot-spots’. The scheme intends to better target road improvements as people return to work and school. According to the most recent research published by Kwik-Fit on the subject, potholes caused £1.25 billion of damage to vehicles in 2019, with the average bill for affected motorists £115. Potholes damage most frequently afflicts tyres, wheels, suspension, and steering.
Only Sweden has safer roads than the UK, according to figures unveiled by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) that cover Europe. In light of this, Sheffield-based Roadmender Asphalt commissioned nationally representative research that has explored commuter habits post-lockdown, showing that 69 per cent of Brits would rather cycle or drive in to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19 risk, amounting to 24,261,000 people. Further to this, the study has unveiled that 65 per cent of Brits would not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore and think it will be one of the most stressful parts of their day.
British motorists pay a high price for repairs to damage caused by potholes. Claims for pothole damage are estimated to total around £4 billion annually, according to insurer Green Flag. And such is the public outcry over the state of the country’s roads that the government set aside a fund of £2.5 billion in the latest Budget to address the problem. To addres this, Roadmender Asphalt, a Sheffield-based bitumen technology company, has developed a novel approach to pothole repairs. The company uses mastic asphalt, one of which is called Elastomac. This novel thermoplastic includes seven end of life tyres in every tonne.
UK motorists spent a total of £1.25 billion repairing pothole damage to their vehicles over the last year, reveals research published this week by Kwik Fit. This research from Walnut (formerly ICM) indicates that more than 10.8 million vehicles in the UK were damaged in the last 12 months due to poor road conditions. The costs to motorists for such damage over the last three years amounts to an astonishing £3.4 billion.
Damage to the UK’s A and B routes is contributing to British commuters spending up to four days in traffic every year, and the problem appears to be getting worse. Digital driving app Waze has reporting an increase in potholes by 40 per cent over the past month, with 11,558 alerts made in the UK. Potholes cost British motorists £4bn every year according to Green Flag.
With UK roads known for their potholes, it’s something that every driver has to put up with, but what impact is it having on vehicles? The obvious components it affects are the tyres, wheels and bodywork, but there are other components that may also become worn due to potholes and even speed humps.
While many have been talking about chancellor of the exchequer the right honourable Phillip Hammond MP’s decision to increase the personal allowance threshold from £11,850 to £12,500 in April 2019, for those of us connected to the automotive and transport industries this year speech is probably best described as a pothole budget. True Hammond has raised personal allowance threshold and has raised the point at which people start paying higher rate tax (40 per cent) to £50,000, but the automotive industry was hoping for much more clarity and even support the wake of a Brexit-fuelled, uncertainty ridden market context.
A survey performed for Kwik Fit indicates that the pothole problem is getting worse in the UK, a trend that will surprise very few people. Based upon feedback from 2,049 respondents, it has been determined that pothole damage to vehicles last year cost a total of £915 million to repair. This is 34 per cent more than the cost calculated from a similar survey two years ago – and the rise can’t be explained away by increasing repair costs.
RAC patrols attended 11 per cent more breakdowns that could be attributed to potholes in the last quarter of 2017 than in the same period in 2016, according to new data used to compile the RAC’s Pothole Index.
The AlloyGator wheel protector has an opportunity for growth as motorists battle alloy wheel damage caused by hitting potholes. Hitting the side of a pothole can cause scrapes, scuffs and dents to alloy wheels resulting in expensive repair bills or even the need for replacements – all of which can be avoided by fitting AlloyGators, the company states. With the winter months sure to exacerbate the pothole problem, due to frozen water expanding cracks in the road, AlloyGator is increasing its efforts to roll out its product to more tyre retailers.