A bumpy ride

As the latest published report from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) highlights that within the next five years one in six of the UK’s roads need repair or may even face closure, National Windscreens is looking to help raise awareness of the dangers potholes pose to motorist safety.

The AIA’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey says that the cumulative effect of an ageing network, decades of underfunding, increased traffic and wetter winters has led to around 17% of all local roads reported as being in poor structural condition.

Pete Marsden, managing director at National Windscreens, says, ‘This report only serves to highlight what motorists have been noticing for a while which is a marked increase in the number and size of potholes appearing on the UK’s roads.

‘This is concerning because driving through potholes causes a lot of vehicle damage, from debris sent flying through the air as the vehicle hits the pothole and the impact being passed through the vehicle causing the windscreen to crack. For the growing number of vehicles fitted with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), calibration of windscreen mounted cameras may also be required to ensure critical safety systems are working correctly. Just as worrying, last minute avoidance of potholes can lead to collisions with other road users so this is a major safety concern.

‘Even at 30mph, a small piece of tarmac from a pothole can cause damage to your windscreen that could render your vehicle unsafe to drive. The advice is clear – when the road looks to be in poor condition the only feasible course of action is to slow down. I would advise any motorists that even if they only have a small chip or crack, or damage to the seal and edge of your windscreen caused by general wear, then hitting a pothole can also send vibrations through your vehicle that will cause the damage to deteriorate, resulting in a larger, more dangerous crack.

‘That’s why any cracks or chips need to be fixed or replaced as soon as possible before extensive damage is caused meaning the vehicle is not safe to drive.

‘With our UK-wide network of 108 fitting centres, meaning a motorist will never be more than 11 miles or 20 minutes away from a technician, there has never been a better time to get a windscreen chip checked out. We can often repair small chips and prevent the need for a replacement and, even if the glass is beyond repair, it is better to have the windscreen replaced at a time and place that is convenient to the motorist rather than in an emergency situation.’