Following the coldest start to winter in more than 30 years and temperatures that dropped as low as minus 18,* the UK’s leading direct consumer warranty provider had already recorded a 13 percent year-on-year increase in pothole-related axle and suspension damage in January.
With the wintry weather experienced across the UK during the first two weeks of February, that figure is expected to rise dramatically once claims roll in for damage done by rutted and potholed roads.
The “freeze and thaw” effect accelerates road surface weathering and the creation of more potholes. When the temperature drops, rainwater, which has found its way into cracks in the tarmac, expands and breaks up the bitumen. With frost on half the days in December, this will have been happening on a daily basis*.
“The problem is only going to get worse over the next week or so,” warns Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, in response to the worst snowfall to hit Britain in 18 years.
“With a £1 billion shortfall in road maintenance budgets across the country**, local councils will have their work cut out repairing pothole damaged roads”, he says. “It’s a surefire bet that the number of claims we see will rise.”
Warranty Direct’s average claim for repairs to suspension damaged by potholes is £240, with the most expensive claim in 2008 costing £2710.
Anyone who spots a pothole can find details of how to report it to their local council through www.potholes.co.uk. The website also gives advice on how to claim compensation if your car has been damaged by poorly maintained roads.