Protect yourself during pothole season on the Shotley peninsula with Waze app
By Guest author
3rd Feb 2024 | News
Once more we are in the grips of a full-blown 'pothole season', a phenomenon regularly seen between the months of January and March.
Water seeps into cracks in the road, freezes, expands, and causes the surface to disintegrate, crumble and crater.
Potholes can be tricky to spot, particularly in the dark winter months when they might also be full of water, appearing like any other road puddle.
When potholes wreak havoc to car axles and key suspension parts, the repair bill can easily run to more than £1,000.
But drivers can potentially protect themselves by plugging-into the UK's 'automotive hive mind', which can warn you of a pothole around the corner, way before you've even reached it.
That's according to Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing.
He explains: "Apps like Waze, an alternative to software like Google Maps, don't just help you navigate to a location, they also let you warn other road users about potential hazards ahead - including potholes.
"The community of 'Wazers' mark precisely where they've just encountered a pothole in the hope that others following behind might be able to avoid it. It's the brilliant thing about an automotive hive mind - you get a real insight into what's up ahead.
"The information is also bang up to date, with pothole reports that have not been 'confirmed' by other Wazers typically disappearing after 48 hours.
"If you're driving along with the app open and you hear 'Watch out! Pothole reported ahead!' you can then modify your speed accordingly and prepare to take evasive action when you eventually encounter the road crater.
"It's not just Waze that provides this service, other infotainment systems from manufacturer's like Mercedes-Benz and Skoda can also provide information about impending potholes.
"And I'd urge motorists to always have those apps or sat-nav systems open for every single journey - even if you know precisely where you're going - so that you get an early pothole warning long before your front wheel is disappearing into one. It could potentially save you from spending hundreds of pounds at your local garage."
Despite the Government last year setting aside an extra £200 million to help local authorities fund road repairs, councils are still struggling to deal with potholes at a rate quicker than new ones appear.
It's often motorists who count the cost of damaged tyres, cracked alloys, broken suspension parts, wheel misalignment, broken exhausts, and even smashed windows.
A study by Skoda last year found that more than a quarter (27%) of the 2,000 British motorists polled had their car damaged by road craters.
The most common issues were punctures (47%), followed by tracking misalignment (26%) and a cracked spring (22%).
The regions encountering the most damage were the North East and South West of England, while the region in which the fewest vehicle repairs needed to be carried out was the East Midlands.
Last year the Asphalt Industry Alliance's Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) organisation also found 1.4 million potholes had been filled between 2022 and 2023 – down from 1.7 million the previous period.
Meanwhile the ALARM document also highlighted an enormous backlog of road repairs needed in England and Wales - repairs that'll ultimately cost around £14.02 billion to remedy.