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Drivers paid £1.5 billion in pothole related repair bills last year

By Mathilda Bartholomew | April 25, 2024

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Since 2018, drivers have spent more on pothole damage repairs than the cost to fix the entire road network.

Drivers paid £1.5 billion in pothole related repair bills last year

You might have felt the jolt, the sinking feeling as your car hits a pothole. It’s not just an inconvenience; it’s hitting you where it hurts – your wallet. Recent data released by Kwik Fit in their annual PIT Report (Pothole Impact Tracker) unveils the harsh reality: the state of our road network is taking a toll on motorists across the nation.

Tightening budgets have left councils struggling to keep up with road repairs. And the consequences? A staggering £1.48 billion in pothole damage costs for drivers in the past year alone. It's a problem that's been brewing for years. Back in 2018, the asphalt industry estimated that £9.31 billion was needed to fix our roads. Fast forward to today, those funds still haven’t materialized. Instead, drivers have footed a £9.5 billion bill for vehicle repairs caused by pothole damage between 2018 and 2024. That's nearly equivalent to the funding shortfall identified six years ago.

What’s worse, prevention is cheaper than cure. The one-time catch-up figure for road repairs has ballooned to an estimated £16.3 billion. That's a hefty price tag for neglecting maintenance.

In the last year alone, the pothole damage bill spiked by 61% since 2018. For the average motorist, that's a repair bill of £120, with some unlucky drivers shelling out over £300. The usual suspects take the hit: tyres, wheels, and suspension systems bear the brunt of pothole encounters.

But here’s the kicker – nearly half of pothole damage cases aren't immediately obvious. You might only realize the damage days later, or worse, when you hear that dreaded noise or feel that unusual vibration. It’s a safety hazard that’s often overlooked until it’s too late.

Kwik Fit’s research paints a grim picture: 60% of drivers encounter at least one pothole a week, up from 57% just a year ago. And it’s not just the frequency; road conditions are deteriorating. Over half of drivers report worsening road surfaces in their area, with only a fraction seeing any improvement.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said, “The worsening condition of our roads is a long term issue, as shown by Kwik Fit’s annual PIT report over recent years.  We know that council budgets are ever more stretched, but poor road surfaces hit the UK in the pocket through the damage they do to the nation’s vehicles.

“Potholes are not just an issue because of the cost to drivers, they present a risk to people’s safety.  Our research shows that in many cases, people are unaware of the damage their car has suffered. A tyre with a compromised inner sidewall or a wheel which has suffered cracking may not be obvious without a thorough check. Sometimes a pothole can result in a slow puncture, which only becomes critical a few days after the impact, often in the most inconvenient location. We advise drivers who experience any severe pothole impacts to keep monitoring for damage well after the event, and if they have any concerns, pop into a garage to have it checked over.”

It’s a call to action for drivers everywhere: potholes are more than just a nuisance; they're a costly and potentially dangerous road hazard. So, next time you hit the road, keep your eyes peeled and your wallet protected.

Find out how you can appeal to your local authority to try and get money back for any repairs made to your car after driving over a pothole.

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