It’s been a very poor financial start to the year for Irish motorists who are contending with escalating fuel prices and pothole damage. An AA Motor Insurance poll of more than 21,000 motorists reveals that in the region of one in six motorists have been forced to foot the bill for repair jobs and or call upon the AA as a result of pothole damage.
“This is a disproportionately high number of pothole related incidents in comparison to other months,” says John Farrell Director of AA Motor Insurance. “However it’s hardly surprising given the visible degradation of our road surfaces.”
The AA Motor Insurance Poll also reveals that some counties are worse afflicted than others. At the upper end of the spectrum, 23% of respondents in both Wexford and Roscommon said that they have had to bring their car to the garage for repairs, call upon the AA’s breakdown services or both since the beginning of the year. Other counties to report a high number of incidents are Monaghan, Mayo, Offaly, Longford and Clare.
The situation is slightly better, although far from ideal, in counties Waterford and Dublin where the lowest number of incidents were reported. 12% of motors surveyed in both these counties said they sustained damage to their car following a wallop from a pothole.
“It’s important for motorists to slow down when they’re forced into a situation where they cannot avoid a pothole,” says Farrell. “Tyre damage for example, unless sustained during an accident, will be viewed by your insurer as wear and tear so it’s in your interest to regulate your driving to deal with potholes.”
The AA offers further advice on minimizing pothole damage on their website, www.aaireland.ie in the AA Zone.
The most common pothole complaints reported during the AA Motor Insurance Poll were a warped wheel rim and punctures. Both of these faults were sustained by 55% of those respondents who said their vehicle required repairs following an unfavourable dalliance with a pothole within the last 12 months. Damage to their vehicle’s steering alignment and shock absorbers were the next most common complaints.
“In most cases the damage done is relatively minor, like a puncture. The repair cost less than 100 euro. But we have heard from people who have had to pay €2000 or more to fix damaged wheels and suspensions,” adds Farrell.