A right royal pain in the asphalt

Covered mag, presented by Gocompare.com
  • | by Kristian Dando

Blame the long hard winters, or the cuts to council funding, but potholes are becoming an increasing blight on British roads.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists says that a third of drivers have had their car damaged in some way or another by potholes. A further 16 per cent of people questioned have been involved in or have seen an accident caused by a road user hitting a pothole. Of the 2,600 respondents, 88 per cent of people thought that pothole repairs should be top of their local council’s list of maintenance priorities.

Welsh drivers are the happiest with their council’s aptitude for dealing with potholes, but even then, only just over a quarter of respondents would go as far as saying that their council was good at it. Drivers in the South East are the most cheesed-off with their council – only ten per cent rated their council’s ability to successfully deal with potholes.

Surrey motorist David Kellie, 63, grumbled: "Who needs 'sleeping policemen'? The roads are in such a poor state of repair that most drivers are unable to keep up with speed limits. Those on two wheels are in constant danger of being thrown off whether it be a motorbike or cycle. We are fed up of hearing about cuts as the motorist is charged more at the pumps and through road tax. Where does the money go?"

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: "The public is unhappy with the state of their roads, although many realise that spending cuts are the real problem. Eighty per cent of those polled thought that local councils should work more closely together to increase efficiency, and with no loosening of the public purse strings in sight it will take partnerships to ensure the backlog in road maintenance does not continue to stack up."

Pot luck – what to do if your car has been damaged by a pothole

Chances are that you’re familiar with the bone-shaking thunk that comes with driving over a pothole. But what about the damage that it can cause?

An encounter with a pothole might make you lose your balance weights or play havoc with your car’s wheel tracking - thus having a big effect on your fuel economy. These sort of problems will manifest themselves through shaking and vibrations through the steering wheel or the car pulling in a direction or the steering wheel being wonky when driving in a straight line.

If you’ve hit a pothole, pay a visit to your local friendly tyre centre and ask to have the tracking and balance checked. A lot of places will quite happily do this for free. While you’re at it, ask about a quick check on the underside of the car to see if there’s anything else damaged. If there’s damage to your car then you might be able to claim against your local highway authority.