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Mike Waters' blog: 15 January - Playing catch-up

Date: 15 January 2015

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company

For a number of years the Government has pledged budget for road improvements; it's almost become a standard feature of the Chancellor's annual Budget speech. While at the end of last year a £6 billion fund was allocated to be used by local authorities between now and 2021.

The problem is, estimates from industry experts suggest that it's not enough mainly because of the backlog that the country is up against. This year has been mild but a series of tough winters delivering a combination of snow, ice and flooding have undoubtedly taken their toll and repairs just haven't kept pace.

There comes a point when you are playing catch-up and new damage materialises before the old issues can be put right which is a major concern for motorists. Potholes cause costly damage to vehicles which is a problem for all drivers, but must be terrible for the self-employed who drive for a living. For occupations like taxi and delivery drivers who are clocking up high mileage it's a costly problem.

Hitting a pothole at low speed is most likely to cause tyre, wheel and steering alignment damage. At high speed, drivers can lose control and it can be much worse. There's not much that drivers can do about this but there are some things to remember.

Of course the first thing is to look out for damaged roads and try to avoid them (or travel over a pothole as slowly as you can). If you do hit one, check your vehicle over and if something doesn't feel right, get an expert to look at it.

It's also really important that you report road damage to your local Highway Authority for two reasons. First, if they know about it they can look to get it fixed and remove the hazard. Second, if the local authority already knew about the pothole and it causes damage to your vehicle, you may have a case to make a claim and recoup the cost.