The Double-Edged Pothole Sword

By Kevin | 26th March 2013 | Category: Road Safety | Leave a comment

Image courtesy of phanlop88 /


Kwik Fit have issued a report that shows that the number of motorists reporting incidents involving hitting a pothole has increased by 143% as nearly 13 million of them collided with a pothole in the past year in comparison to 2011’s 5.7 million.

We have reported on the number of potholes and the inherent dangers of them before but it is not just hitting the potholes that cause danger to drivers; swerving to avoid them is a too is s safety concern – and that causes problems for other road users and pedestrians. In Kwik Fit’s study, it showed that 27% of motorists were forced to swerve on to the other side of the road to avoid a pothole which is a 12% increase on 2011. The safety aspect of this is obvious, as is the fact that in the same time period, 2.2 million motorists have been forced to a complete sudden stop.

This figure of 2.2 million is uncannily the estimated number of potholes in the England and Wales and altogether in the study it shows that 66% of drivers “have been in a situation where they needed to take evasive action to avoid a pothole” in comparison to just over half (54%) in 2011. And of these motorists it is estimated that actually more than one-in-ten (11%) younger motorists aged between 18 and 24, obviously without the experience on the road of older drivers, have been in an accident through evading a pothole.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says: “Potholes are a growing problem for motorists, not just through the damage they cause, but the fact that they force drivers to make risky manoeuvres. A motorist who suddenly veers around a hole, or brakes heavily without warning, will give other road users very little time to react.  It’s no surprise that more than three million drivers have either been in, or witnessed an accident caused by a driver avoiding a pothole and this recent spell of freezing weather is only going to make the situation worse.”

The worst area for pothole evasion incidents is the West Midlands where 71% of drivers say that they have had to take evasive action while in Wales ‘only’ 56% of drivers have been affected.

According to Kwik Fit’s survey, pothole evasion techniques vary from 8,682,000 drivers swerving on to the other side of the road, 7,001,000 switching lanes suddenly and 5,943,000 braking with excessive force and indecent haste to 2,348.000 hitting the kerb, 2,189,000 coming to a complete and sudden stop, and 1,795,000 mounting the pavement. No figures are in the survey when it comes to injury, but the safety implications are immense for other road users and pavement users when a vehicle suddenly stops or appears where it shouldn’t.

And the ‘punchline’ to this survey?

“Motorists who have hit a pothole, or even a kerb or pavement as they have tried to avoid one, and suspect that they may have damage to their car can take it into any Kwik Fit centre to be checked over free of charge.”


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