Following on from a mild winter, damage to vehicles in Ireland as a result of potholes are down on last year according to the results of an AA Membership poll of over 20,000 people. During the AA’s online poll conducted at the end of January just gone, 11% of respondents said that they have sustained damage to their vehicle since the start of the year having hit a pothole. This is compared to a figure of 16% during the same period last year the AA reports.
“Potholes are still a serious problem.” Says Director of Policy Conor Faughnan. “Our Patrols attended over 1,400 call outs relating to punctures and warped wheels during January alone. The roads were badly affected during the big freeze events of 2010 so this time last year they were in terrible shape. While a little better, it is still an endemic problem in 2012.”
The AA submitted over 10,000 pothole petition signatures to local authorities around the country last summer urging for repairs to be carried. Since then significant changes in the “pothole county leader board” have been recorded.
Last year counties Wexford and Roscommon appeared to be worst afflicted with 23% of respondents from each county saying their car had necessitated repairs as a result of a pothole. This year however drivers in counties Monaghan (23%), Cavan (19%) and Clare (19%) have emerged as worst affected based on the AA’s poll results. Somewhat correlating with this, Monaghan and Cavan County Councils were well down the list last of intended total road maintenance allocations for 2011. Clare County Council did fare slightly better however ranking 10th out of 33. Wexford which was one of the most complained about counties last year through the mechanics of both the AA poll and subsequent pothole petition ranks seventh this year, while Roscommon is now midtable. The lowest percentage of incidents were again recorded in Dublin and were down from 12% during January 2011 to 7% this year.
To keep pothole damage to a minimum AA Patrols offer the following advice:
•Maintain full air pressure in all tyres, as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. This will help to provide a cushion between pothole and the rim of your tyre.
•Keep your eyes peeled for potholes by leaving plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front. Never ever swerve to avoid a pothole without checking surrounding traffic.
•If you’re not in a position to avoid the pothole, slow down. Hitting it at speed will increase the chance of damage to tyres, wheels, shocks, struts or springs.
•Hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.
•Don’t brake when directly over a pothole. This causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the wheel and can increase damage from the impact.
•Be wary of potholes filled with water, they may be deeper than they look!
They also offer the following tips on identifying pothole damage:
The front end of your vehicle dips when you brake
You can feel your vehicle roll or sway while turning
Upon acceleration the rear of the vehicle squats
On rougher, winding roads you can feel an abnormal bounce or slide
In general your vehicle feels like it’s sitting a little lower at the front or the rear
If you stop suddenly you experience a loss of directional control
Visible damage such as rusting or dents.