Its research shows that nearly 13 million (39%) motorists collided with a pothole in the past 12 months compared to 5.7 million (16%) in 2011.
However, the danger to drivers is coming from pothole misses, as well as hits. Kwik Fit’s study shows that over a quarter (27%) of motorists were forced to swerve on to the other side of the road to avoid a pothole – a 12% increase on 2011. Over the same period almost twice as many motorists have been forced to a complete sudden stop – 2.2 million today up from 1.2 million two years ago.
With at least 2.2 million potholes in England and Wales2 last year, Kwik Fit’s study shows that two thirds (66%) of drivers have been in a situation where they needed to take evasive action to avoid a pothole, compared to just over half (54%) in 2011.
Worryingly, more than one-in-ten (11%) younger motorists aged between 18 and 24 have been in an accident through evading a pothole and 7% of motorists have witnessed an accident caused by one.
As well as switching to the opposite side of the road, other risky emergency measures undertaken by motorists to avoid potholes include: excessive braking (18%), hitting the kerb (7%) and even mounting the pavement (5%).
Motorists in the West Midlands have been the worst hit by potholes around the UK with 71% saying they’ve had to take evasive action. Drivers in Wales have been the luckiest, with ‘only’ 56% of drivers affected.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says: “Potholes are a growing problem for motorists, not just through the damage they cause, but the fact that they force drivers to make risky manoeuvres. A motorist who suddenly veers around a hole, or brakes heavily without warning, will give other road users very little time to react. It’s no surprise that more than three million drivers have either been in, or witnessed an accident caused by a driver avoiding a pothole and this recent spell of freezing weather is only going to make the situation worse.”
Motorists who have hit a pothole, or even a kerb or pavement as they have tried to avoid one, and suspect that they may have damage to their car can take it into any Kwik Fit centre to be checked over free of charge.