Despite an allocation of over £900 million in 2016 to the maintenance of roads in the UK, claims analysis from Warranty Direct and data from the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey suggests the road network in Britain is still well below standard. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
According to ALARM’s most recent survey, the annual shortfall when it comes to maintaining our road surfaces in the UK, is now £730m. It was also estimated in the report that to ‘catch-up’ on the required maintenance, it would require £12.6 billion and 12 years’ maintenance to clear the backlog.
The effect that poorly maintained roads has had on Britain’s cars is reflected by the latest claims data analysis from over 15,000 authorised claims by Warranty Direct. Over 20 percent of all claims have been for axle and suspension issues, which can often be caused by inadequate road surfaces.
The cost of these claims amounted to £876,690 over the course of the last two years. The most common issues in terms of axle and suspension claims, were shock absorbers and springs – components that are most commonly damaged by uneven road surfaces.
Poor road surfaces have not only cost the consumer a great deal financially in recent years, they are also dangerous. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 1,700 accidents were attributed to defective road surfaces, many of which resulted in compensation claims to insurers .
Other automotive parts commonly damaged by poor road surfaces are steering and braking systems, often affected by either sudden steering movements or hard braking to avoid potholes, cracks in the road, or a generally uneven surface. Steering and braking system failures were a major contributor to Warranty Direct’s claims in the last two years, totalling over £700,000 at an average cost of £407 per repair.
To help protect their cars from uneven road surfaces, motorists can do the following:
- Check tyre pressure regularly – underinflated tyres have a greater part of their surface area in contact with the road, increasing the likelihood of rubber being slashed by a damaged surface. Over-inflation makes them vulnerable to overheating and uneven tread, meaning any abrupt impact could cause a rupture.
- Avoid unnecessary braking – if you drive over a pothole, try not to apply your brakes. Braking tilts the vehicle forward and puts more stress on the front suspension, often causing more damage.
- Careful steering – a traditional 10’ and 2’ grip on the wheel will help you maintain as much control as possible when combating a poor road surface. If you do have to drive over a potential hazard, avoid sudden and aggressive steering.