Franchised car retailers in the North West should be filling their workshops with vehicles damaged by the capital’s gaping pot holes, according to data which suggests vehicles have sustained £915 million of damage due to rutted roads.
The region emerged as the country’s top UK pot hole hot spot in a report published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance and franchised car dealerships should be challenging their fast-fit rivals to meet the needs of pot hole victims.
This week the Government’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey – based on information from 60% of local authorities responsible for roads in England and Wales – resulted in ‘red alerts’ being issued to 24,400 miles of the UK’s road network.
This length of road network could ‘fail’, or become too dangerous to drive on, if not repaired over the next year, the report said.
The news comes despite local authorities’ efforts, which saw one pot hole filled every 21 seconds, on average, last year.
Simon Benson, director of motoring services at AA Cars, said: “With the government allocating significantly smaller budgets for highway maintenance, the country’s roads are suffering and we’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of potholes repaired each year since 2014.
“A distinct lack of funding means that the country’s roads are deteriorating, putting drivers at risk and making pothole-related damage to cars increasingly likely.”
It is clear that franchised car retailers must rise to the challenge of meeting the maintenance needs of motorists who fall foul of pot holes, however.
A survey of over 2,000 motorists carried out by Walnut (formerly ICM) said that the damage caused to vehicles by the scourge of urban and rural roads alike has risen by 34% over the past two years, costing £915 million in repairs.
Two years ago the repair bill stood at £684 million two years ago, it claimed.
During that time the average cost of repairing damage to components including tyres, wheels, suspension and bodywork has risen only slightly – from £108.60 in 2016 to £111 this year.
But the number of drivers whose vehicles have suffered damage has skyrocketed over the last 24 months – from 6.3million drivers a year to 8.2million - leading to the total bill for repairs increasing by £231 million.
Over the course of an average week, 70% of drivers say they have hit at least one pothole, with 25% claiming that they hit one a day on average.
Drivers in the north west of the country have the worst experience, with over a third (36%) of drivers suffering a pothole impact on a daily basis.
A quarter of drivers who have hit potholes over the last year have suffered costly damage to their car, with the most common repairs being to tyres (4.2 million), wheels (2.7 million), suspension (2.4 million) and bodywork (1.2 million).
Fast-fit provider Kwik Fit is in no doubt of the issues with UK roads.
In a statement issued this week, the business noted that pot holes had led to drivers changing their car maintenance habits.
Cheaper tyres were bought by 5% of drivers as the road surfaces damage them before the tread wears out, it said.
However, 1.5 million drivers (4%) do precisely the opposite, buying more expensive tyres which are better at coping with the poor condition of the roads.
Over two million drivers (6%) say they have left damage to their car unrepaired as they are sure it will get damaged again soon.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The poor condition of the road network is hitting motorists’ wallets ever harder. Unfortunately, experience of past years has shown us that the recent cold weather will only make the problem worse and we are likely to see even more drivers suffering serious damage from impacts with potholes.”