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Pothole damage three times more likely in the North

4th March 2013

Motorists in Scotland and the North of England are up to three times as likely to damage their cars on poorly maintained, potholed roads, according to Potholes.co.uk.

Automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct, analysed data from more than 50,000 live consumer policies over four years and found that the 10 regions of the UK in which suspension failure is most prevalent are all at the top of the UK, with North Yorkshire being the furthest south.

Overall, UK drivers pay out more than £1 million a day* to repair axle and suspension parts on their cars, thanks largely to the legacy of years of underinvestment in road maintenance.

One in 10 motorists in the Angus region of Scotland will get an unwanted garage bill for suspension repairs this year, compared with just 3.2% in East Sussex, where you are least likely to suffer pothole damage.

With an average repair cost of £257, axle and suspension faults are the most common suffered by British motorists, the reason for one in five visits to a workshop every year.

This winter has already seen some of the worst road conditions in recent history. Potholes.co.uk has seen a sharp increase in visitor numbers since December. In the last three months, more drivers have reported damage than in the same period in any of the last three years and, with ‘pothole season’ expected to last until April, more misery is yet to come.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, said: “It isn’t just the catastrophic suspension failures that potholes can cause that are the problem. Continued driving over potholes or other uneven road obstacles, like speed humps, gives your car’s suspension a regular pounding and the cumulative damage this causes will eventually result in a breakage.

“With so much of our road network resembling Swiss cheese, it’s almost impossible to avoid. This is especially true of places, like Scotland, which have a high concentration of rural roads, as these get less attention from local authorities than major highways.”**

Seven of the 10 UK regions worst affected by bad roads are in Scotland, with the top 20 dominated by northern counties. Meanwhile, the best places to avoid pothole perils are mostly in the South, with Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Hampshire all among the safest regions.

Position Region Suspension Failure Rate
1 Angus 9.97%
2 Renfrewshire 9.76%
3 Lanarkshire 9.73%
4 Ayrshire 8.69%
5 Aberdeenshire 8.46%
6 Midlothian 8.16%
7 North Yorkshire 7.28%
8 Tyne and Wear 7.03%
9 Perthshire 6.70%
10 Cumbria 6.52%
11 South Yorkshire 6.28%
12 Berkshire 6.12%
13 Gloucestershire 6.01%
14 Cheshire 5.71%
15 Shropshire 5.69%
16 Warwickshire 5.43%
17 West Yorkshire 5.38%
18 Northamptonshire 5.32%
19 Northumberland 5.02%
20 Stirlingshire 4.97%
21 Lincolnshire 4.96%
22 Hertfordshire 4.92%
23 Nottinghamshire 4.84%
24 West Sussex 4.83%
25 Buckinghamshire 4.81%
26 County Durham 4.77%
27 Surrey 4.73%
28 Merseyside 4.70%
29 Cambridgeshire 4.69%
30 West Midlands 4.69%
31 Avon 4.64%
32 Leicestershire 4.61%
33 South Glamorgan 4.57%
34 Wiltshire 4.48%
35 Cornwall 4.44%
36 Middlesex 4.42%
37 Kent 4.37%
38 Bedfordshire 4.36%
39 Derbyshire 4.33%
40 London 4.33%
41 Staffordshire 4.29%
42 Suffolk 4.27%
43 Lancashire 4.18%
44 Norfolk 4.11%
45 County Antrim 3.98%
46 Worcestershire 3.97%
47 Essex 3.97%
48 Hampshire 3.88%
49 Dorset 3.75%
50 Devon 3.46%
51 Somerset 3.42%
52 East Sussex 3.17%

* - There are 28.8 million cars on UK roads according to the Department for Transport: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/35995/vls-quarter-3-2012.pdf
28,800,000 x £257 (average suspension repair cost) x 0.05 (amount of cars that have suspension problems each year) = £370,080,000

** 58% of roads in England are classified as rural compared with 78% in Wales and 78% in Scotland, according to the Department for Transport:

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