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16% of people damaged their vehicle after striking a pothole in the past year 16% of people damaged their vehicle after striking a pothole in the past year

Driving & Road Safety

16% of people damaged their vehicle after striking a pothole in the past year

Published 19th April 2022Read Time 4 min

According to new figures from a survey by AA Ireland, 16% of respondents stated that damage had been caused to their car, motorbike or bike as a result of moving over an unrepaired pothole in the past year.

AA Ireland surveyed over 5,000 motorists and it found that tyre damage was the most likely fallout of a run-in with a poorly maintained road.

Of those who had their car damaged by a pothole, 61% reported that one or more of their tyres had either been punctured, with 35% stating that the wheel rim had also been damaged by the pothole. Meanwhile, 23% said they damaged the steering alignment and 17% damaged the shock absorbers or shock absorption system.

“Potholes are still a major problem on Irish roads. Many people are having their vehicles or bikes damaged by a poor road surface on a daily basis. It's not good enough,” says Anna Cullen from AA Ireland.

"It's clear that more funding is needed for the maintenance and protection of our roads. My advice for those who come across a poor surface and/or potholes is to report it when you can. A well maintained road will mean all road users are kept safe," she adds.

The majority of respondents who reported such damage were based in Dublin (30%), with 12% in Cork, 7% in Kildare, 6% in Meath, 5% in Wicklow and Galway, 4% in Limerick, Donegal and Wexford and 3% were in Clare, Tipperary and Waterford. 

Across 2021 and so far this year, the AA patrol team have attended over 37,500 callouts to tyre related issues. 

The highest number of callouts were reported in Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath, Galway, Limerick, Louth, Wexford, Kerry, Westmeath, Waterford and Tipperary. 

“There are ways you can identify pothole damage. You’ll notice that the front end of your vehicle dips when you brake, you can feel your vehicle roll or sway while turning, when you accelerate the rear of the vehicle squats and on rougher, winding roads you can feel an abnormal bounce or slide,” Cullen states.

“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 and there is visible damage such as rusting or dents,” she adds. 

“To keep pothole damage to a minimum our patrol team says you should maintain full air pressure in all tyres. Keep your eyes peeled for potholes by leaving plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front. 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,” she states.

“Hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Don't break 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,” she adds.

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