When we see a pothole most of us try to avoid it. However, the roads seem to be covered in potholes and they are becoming increasingly difficult to avoid. These nuisances are causing a lot of damage to cars. The damage can be expensive to repair. In 2016 there were more than one million potholes recorded on UK roads, which caused over £3 million in damage to cars. Pothole damage on UK roads, from the chart below you can see 64% of damage is to tyres, we receive numerous calls throughout winter period for people to be have their car recovered and have the tyres swapped out at home, work or on by the road side.
Before we look at the damage that potholes cause. We need to know exactly what a pothole is. Obviously, you would assume that there is a standard definition of a pothole. Firstly, they are defined by depth – otherwise, they are considered to be a ‘carriageway defect. Different councils have different depths by which they define a pothole. Most councils use 40mm as the minimum depth. Which is about the same size as two 20p coins stacked on top of one another. The minimum width is 300mm, again this can vary between councils.
Causes of Potholes on Roads
We know that potholes are a pain, unfortunately, our cars can testify to that! Have you ever thought about the cause of potholes? They are caused by water. The groundwater expands and contracts after water has entered into the ground under the pavement. As we know when water freezes it expands. When water gets into the ground under the pavement it has a chance to freeze, it will take up more space under the pavement. This causes the pavement to expand, bend and crack, inevitable this cases the pavement to weaken. When ice melts the pavement contracts, this leaves gaps in the surface under the pavement, where water can get in and become trapped. If the water freezes and thaws over and over, the pavement will weaken and will continue to crack.
Cars and trucks pass over the weak spot in the road, the weight of them make the roadway material weaken, this causes the material to be displaced or broken down, and there we have it a pothole is formed!
How to Fix Potholes
Firstly, the local council is responsible for maintaining the roads in the area. They are responsible for fixing the potholes, any damage that a pothole causes to your car could be their responsibility. So you could be entitled to compensation. However, if your car is damaged due to other debris that is on the road you would not be entitled to compensation. You could claim this type of damage on your car insurance policy.
The government is drawing up plans to reduce roadworks, yes you read right! And plans to reduce the number of potholes. They want to start charging utility firms for the amount of time that they occupy the roads. There are also proposals to swap roadworks for roadworks for paveworks, this will reduce the number of times roads have to be dug up, which would help reduce potholes. The utility firms will have to look at the option of digging up the pavements if this isn’t an option then they will be permitted to dig up the road to lay pipes or cables.
The first thing that comes to mind is are they shifting the issue of potholes on the roads to the pavements, will the pavements be riddled with potholes? Causing increased risk of injury to pedestrians. This is the belief of Stephen Joseph who is the CEO of The Campaign For Better Transport: “You can’t just export the problem from roads to pavements without expecting major consequences. The NHS spends an awful lot of money treating people who’ve had trips, slips and falls on uneven and badly maintained pavements.”
It would seem that there is no real solution for fixing potholes at the moment…
Raf Autos is always ready to recover you and your vehicle – call 01184492443