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SA has challenger for the Pothole Peril

2014-05-07 11:18

LOOK OUT! POTHOLES ABOUT: There are so many potholes in UK roads that a call is out for a new road sign such as this. Image: Suppled

  • Floods create surge in compensation claims.
  • County (provincial) council claims in Jan/Feb 2014 up 750%
  • 'Potholes' road signs (thought it was just an SA thing) likely

LONDON, England - County councils in areas worst hit by the winter storms are now facing a different kind of flood – a rising swell of compensation claims from vehicle owners, according to campaign website  potholes.co.uk

While homeowners seek compensation for damage to houses road users are demanding reparation for car axle, wheel and suspension faults caused by pothole-ridden stretches of saturated roads.

In one county – deluged Somerset – claims spiked at 204 in January / February from 24 in November / December, a 750% increase in cases.


The same trend has been noted in other regions hit by flooding at the start of 2014. Surrey County Council reported a 353% increase and admitted that "an unprecedented number of claims” meant that there was still a backlog of claims waiting to go on to the system.

Statistics, it seems can only get worse.

South African cities have also been hit with claims from angry vehicle owners for damage done to their cars by unfilled potholes - remember, you too can claim against your city if you have proof that a pothole puncture your tyre(s) or damaged your vehicle's suspension.

In Dorset, one of the worst hit flood areas, the county council saw claims for pothole damage increase from 85 in November/December to 193 in January/February – up 127%. In January the county experienced up to 290mm of rain in some areas – almost three times the average expected at that time of year.

South Africn claims, however, seem to arise more from lack of road-surface maintenance or poorly executed repairs.

To draw attention to the ongoing problem of the crumbling roads, potholes.co.uk has unveiled a new design for road signs that could be adopted to warn road users about pothole-ridden stretches of road.

Pothole damage to cars in the UK creates an estimated annual repair bill of £730-million - to be footed by tax revenues - and continues to increase each year, according to research by potholes.co.uk and Warranty Direct.

Hundreds of roads across the UK have been left saturated and crumbling, accelerating existing deterioration and creating the perfect conditions for a pothole plague.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “With potholed stretches of road affecting many road users daily there’s now real cause to create dedicated signage. Let’s give people a fighting chance of avoiding garage bills or even personal injury.

“If road signs can warn of falling rocks then why not craters from below?" he asked. "The average bill for pothole damage now runs at £247 (about R4500) so a sign only needs stop a couple of incidents to justify the expenditure.

"The embarrassment will be for the government over just how many signs need to be put up – there’s one pothole for every mile of road by some estimates."

Potholes.co.uk had more than 1500 potholes reported across the UK in January and February by drivers who had either damaged their vehicle or were trying to warn others of the hazards.

Even London's mayor, Boris Johnson, isn’t immune to the Pothole Peril. In column in the UK's Telegraph newspaper (16/02/14) the controversial and ever jovial cycling enthusiast reported that he was thrown over his handlebars and wrote-off his bike when he struck a hidden crater in central London.

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