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The Headache of Britain's Roads

Over the last year, companies with a mobile fleet have paid out more than £215 million on vehicle repairs, caused by potholes and poorly maintained UK roads. Halfords recently revealed that 1.5 million vehicles per year suffer from steering and suspension damage as a result.

Last year, a UK driver encountered a pothole every 30 seconds, leaving some motorist with significant bills. Drivers in the Midlands picked up the biggest bill for repairs at £33 million, followed by the North East at £31 million.

Halfords Business Development Director Andrew Huntly explained, ‘even hitting a small pothole can easily damage wheels, tyres and affect steering alignment’. These minor damages can in fact amount to large bills, particular for those driving vehicles with expensive alloy wheels and high performance tyres.

  • Last year there was a reported 1.5 million potholes on Britain’s roads, an increase of 1 million since 2011, although this number is said to have now drastically risen to in excess of 2 million nationwide.
  • Unless the problem is addressed quickly, the situation will only deteriorate further as Britain’s roads now carry more traffic than most other European countries.
  • Paul Watters, Head of Roads Policy at the AA claims that in ‘2007 our roads were in pretty good nick, assisted by a run of mild winters. But then, of course, the recession hit’. Last year city councils filled a total of 968,195 potholes but funding is likely to become less of a priority in the future.

Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said, ‘In December 2012 we announced an extra £215m to help councils get the best out of their road network. This is on top of the additional £200m we gave to councils in March 2011 to repair local roads damaged by the severe winter weather in 2010. It is ultimately up to local highway authorities to determine how they prioritise their funding’.

This is unfortunately not good news for motorists. Students at a University in Milan have recently developed the concept of placing a fluorescent layer of asphalt beneath a new road surface. If the surface is then damaged, the fluorescent colour will act as a warning to road users of the oncoming hazard, as well as prompt the authorities into repairing the area. Although until such ideas are further developed, it looks like potholes will remain a permanent accessory to Britain’s road networks.

To find out more about Britain’s pothole crisis click here.

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