The Regal Rentals Guide to Potholes

Potholes are a nightmare for British drivers.

They can damage a car’s suspension and bruise tyres and, because there are more of them than ever on our roads, it’s not a surprise that there’s been a surge in the number of suspension-related repairs recently.

A recent survey by Halford Auto Centres revealed that over 1.5 million vehicles were damaged by potholes last year. Typical damages included poor steering alignment, damaged suspension and shock absorbers – all of which can cost up to £500 to fix.

At Regal Rentals, we think something needs to be done about the growing number of potholes on our roads.

Last year, it was announced that £1.1bn would be invested in UK road repairs by the Government for 2017 to 2018.

This figure rose to £1.2bn in January to include money from the National Productivity Investment Fund and the Pothole Action Fund.

But authorities say that in reality it will take an average of 12 years and £12bn to bring the local network “up to scratch”. We would like to see local councils doing more.

Below, we’ve put together a Regal Rentals guide to everything you need to know about potholes.

Where does the pothole get its name?

Back in the 15th and 16th centuries, pottery makers looking for a cheap source of raw materials to make clay pots would dig into deep ruts that wagon and coach wheels gouged into roads, reaching for clay deposits underneath. Those driving over the roads knew what caused these abnormalities and referred to them as potholes.

Why do potholes continue to form?

Potholes occur when water enters the ground under the pavement. Just as in the case of an ice cube, when water freezes it expands and this, coupled with the general wear and tear from everyday traffic, causes cracks to form.

How big a problem are potholes in the UK?

Sadly, potholes are a big problem in this country and although not always noticeable at first glance, they could be doing some serious harm to your vehicle.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey (ALARM) produced by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) in March found that nearly 1 in 5 roads were classed as being in a “poor” condition.

The survey also said that councils were almost £730m short of what was needed to keep the road network in “reasonable order”.

How is a pothole repaired?

A pothole is typically repaired by clearing out any loose debris and filling the hole with hot and cold asphalt patch. Once there is approximately a 2inch base, a tamping tool or shovel can be used to compact the material into the hole.

How can potholes be prevented?

Using preservation treatments at the first sight of a pothole can help to prevent potholes becoming more severe, for example sealing cracks in a pavement.

How often should roads be repaired?

The AIA advises that roads must be resurfaced every 10 to 20 years.

But London is the only city to even come close to this, with roads repaired there once every 23 years on average.
Roads are resurfaced on average every 55 years in England, while in Wales this falls to every 63 years.

How can I avoid a pothole when driving?

If it’s not safe to drive around the pothole, slow down before hitting it. Try not to brake directly over a pothole, as this can actually cause more damage to your vehicle. Hold the steering wheel firmly when driving over a pothole so you aren’t in danger of losing control. And be cautious when driving over a puddle of water, as there could well be a pothole beneath it.

Can potholes cause a flat tyre?

The bottom line is potholes aren’t good for your car and can potentially cause damage, including to your tyres. You will be able to notice tyre damage straight away but keep an eye out for small leaks or other damage that may not be obvious straight away.

How can I report a pothole?

All councils allow you to report potholes via their websites, but to save you searching for the correct site and location we have teamed up with national road fault reporting system Street Repairs to create our own simple-to-use pothole reporting tool, system which can be used in minutes, below.

Reporting a pothole makes the highways authorities aware of them instantly, meaning they will be able to fix them.
You can report a pothole here.