Potholes bill £3m a day

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Drivers could be forking out nearly £3m every day – or £1 billion a year – to repair cars damaged by Britain’s crumbling roads, according to potholes.co.uk.

The road maintenance campaign website, set up by the UK’s leading direct car warranty provider, Warranty Direct, is warning that Britain will have “Third World” roads unless something significant is done.

Potholes.co.uk analysed 150,000 of Warranty Direct’s policies over a three-year period and found that nearly six per cent of vehicles suffer axle or suspension damage linked to potholes or road defects each year.

The average cost of repair stood at £312 but individual bills were as high as £4,000. Besides the risk of major mechanical failures, motorists could also end up paying out an average of £277 to replace damaged wheels and burst tyres.

Figures for February 2011 show that 39 per cent more potholes were reported on potholes.co.uk than in the same month in 2010.

One such motorist, Mrs Hinks, sustained over £4,000 worth of damage to her vehicle after striking a pothole. She said: “It’s shocking how much damage can be done by a pothole, I was lucky not to be hurt. A driver in a less substantial vehicle than my BMW might not have been so lucky.”

Duncan McClure Fisher, of Warranty Direct, said: “Unless something more is done soon, we’ll be faced with a road network that would be more at home in a Third World country.

“Whether it’s the cumulative effect of continuously driving on bad roads or the sudden jolting of a deep pothole which does the harm, our crumbling roads are costing motorists millions.”

McClure Fisher added: “The recent council injection of £10m will not solve matters. Councils need to wise up and get creative about how to address the problem.

“Back in December, we predicted that a gloomy combination of a very cold winter, huge underfunding and mediocre repairs to roads could potentially lead to the worst ever pothole season – unfortunately our forecast was largely correct.” 

Anyone can report a road defect using potholes.co.uk, which has contact details for councils across England, Scotland and Wales.