Cost of pothole damage rises despite drop in mileage

Report reveals bill for repairs to pothole damage total £1.3bn over the last year.

The total cost to British drivers from pothole damage over the last 12 months has risen compared to the year before. 

This year’s Pothole Impact Tracker (PIT) Report for Kwik Fit found that the total cost was £1.267 billion compared to £1.249bn for the year to March 2020.

The impact of the pandemic has resulted in the average driver reducing their mileage by 42% over the last year. However, there has not been an equivalent drop in the amount of pothole damage to the nation’s vehicles.

Kwik Fit’s PIT Report tracks the impact of potholes on an annual basis and its research shows that this year, despite reduced mileage, drivers have hit an average of 11 potholes per month, and some 10.2 million have suffered damage to their car as a result. Tyres are the most commonly damaged component, suffered by 4.2 million drivers. This is followed by suspension damage (3.0 million), wheels (2.8mn) and steering (2.0mn).

The average cost of repairs drivers have faced over the last twelve months has been £127.20, an increase of 11% on the previous year. While slightly fewer drivers have suffered damage than in the previous year, this increase in average cost has resulted in the slight rise in the national repair bill.

Although the average driver has been covering significantly fewer miles over the past 12 months, the worsening condition of UK roads may be a reason why so many are still needing repairs. Nearly half (48%) of all drivers say that the condition of the road surfaces in their local area are worse than twelve months ago, with only 12% saying they are better. 

Drivers hitting potholes may find that the damage is not immediately apparent. Pothole impacts can often result in slow punctures, damage on the inside wall of the tyre, or cracks in the wheel which are not obvious straight away. Any driver who hits a pothole with significant force should monitor their car carefully in the days following the incident, to ensure that their vehicle has remained unscathed.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says: “We are all very aware of the massive shock there has been to the public finances as a result of the pandemic. However, the condition of our roads is a long term issue as shown by our PIT report over recent years. Potholes are not just an issue because of the cost to drivers, they present a risk to people’s safety. We need to ensure that any funds made available are used strategically and effectively and not just for short term patching up of the worst affected areas.”

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