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 mid table. 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:
Fig. 1 % of respondents to have struck a pothole or a damaged road surface which necessitated a garage repair to the car and/or a call-out to the AA on a county by county basis.
|January 2011 (Based on 21,388 responses)||January 2012 (Based on 20,739 responses)|
Fig. 2 intended spend on road maintenance and repairs (based on top 10 highest spend counties) for 2011
|City / County Council||Total Maintenance Allocations||% of total|
|Cork County Council||€2,335,672.00||7.97%|
|Mayo County Council||€1,867,578.00||6.38%|
|Galway County Council||€1,776,530.00||6.06%|
|Kerry County Council||€1,665,525.00||5.69%|
|Donegal County Council||€1,589,213.00||5.43%|
|Roscommon County Council||€1,252,379.00||4.28%|
|Kildare County Council||€1,202,995.00||4.11%|
|Limerick County Council||€1,174,513.00||4.01%|
|Kilkenny County Council||€1,143,066.00||3.90%|
|Clare County Council||€1,063,434.00||3.63%|
Data sourced from: http://www.transport.ie/pressRelease.aspx?Id=280