‘Poor road maintenance still a major issue’

Despite an allocation of over £900m in 2016 to the maintenance of roads in the UK, claims analysis from Warranty Direct and data from the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey suggests the road network in Britain is still well below standard.

According to ALARM’s most recent survey, the annual shortfall when it comes to maintaining our road surfaces in the UK, is now £730m. It was also estimated in the report that to ‘catch-up’ on the required maintenance, it would require £12.6bn and 12 years’ maintenance to clear the backlog.

The effect that poorly maintained roads has had on Britain’s cars is reflected by the latest claims data analysis from over 15,000 authorised claims by Warranty Direct. Over 20% of all claims have been for axle and suspension issues, which can often be caused by inadequate road surfaces.

The cost of these claims amounted to £876,690 over the course of the last two years. The most common issues in terms of axle and suspension claims, were shock absorbers and springs, components that are most commonly damaged by uneven road surfaces.

Poor road surfaces have not only cost the consumer a great deal financially in recent years, they are also dangerous. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 1,700 accidents were attributed to defective road surfaces, many of which resulted in compensation claims to insurers .

To help protect cars from uneven road surfaces, motorists can check tyre pressure regularly, with underinflated tyres having a greater part of their surface area in contact with the road, increasing the likelihood of rubber being slashed by a damaged surface. Further, drivers are encouraged to avoid unnecessary braking. Braking tilts the vehicle forward and puts more stress on the front suspension, often causing more damage. Careful steering can also have a positive impact, with a traditional 10’ and 2’ grip on the wheel will help maintain as much control as possible when combating a poor road surface.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct, commented on the analysis, saying ‘Poor road maintenance is clearly still a major issue, causing significant damage to vehicles at considerable cost for today’s motorists. Safeguarding your car with an extended warranty can provide drivers with peace of mind while the UK catches up on its 12-year backlog of road maintenance.’