South East Counties Top Pothole Claims
Pothole Compensation: Hampshire Council Receives More Claims Than Any Other Local Authority in UK, RAC Foundation Claims.
Drivers with vehicles damaged by potholes made more compensation claims from Hampshire County Council than any other local authority, the RAC Foundation claims.
In 2014, Hampshire received 1,760 claims of which around 50% were successful. The county was followed by Surrey where 1,395 drivers requested compensation and 28% had a favourable response. In Essex – the county with the 3rd highest number of pothole claims in the United Kingdom - 5% of the 1,359 claimants were compensated.
Nationally, there were about 29,000 claims of which 6,800 preceded a payout. During 2013, in contrast, there were 49,000 of which 11,000 had a positive outcome.
RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding, said: "One reading of these figures could be that local roads are in better condition than they were. But that does not square with councils' own assessment that the road maintenance backlog is actually growing, not falling.”
Mr Gooding added: “It could instead be that many drivers are put off by the time involved in claiming against a council. But nearly 29,000 claims in one year is still a huge number - 3 an hour, every day of the year."
Read our handy guide on how to claim for pothole damage, here.
How A Pothole Forms
A pothole forms via freezing and thawing. Liquid seeps into the surface of the road where it is trapped. As it freezes, it expands much like an ice cube in a freezer.
This process damages the structure of the road. As the ice melts it contracts into a smaller volume of water which leaves a void for even more liquid. The process then repeats.
The result is that a vehicle – rather than driving over a solid surface – is supported a thin layer of tarmac over an increasing void, which one day collapses and leaves a hole.
Smart Van Detects Potholes
Potholes can now be catalogued faster thanks to a system built into a van. The Versatile Onboard Traffic Embedded Roaming Sensors (VOTERS) system recognises imperfections in roads and predicts where others look set to form in the near future.
It was created by researchers from Northeastern University in Boston. VOTERS incorporates a sensor that monitors air pressure within the van's tyre. A meaningful change suggests an imperfection.
In addition, a microphone is used as some noises indicate a fault. Radar also scans the area between the wheels for pockets of air or water.
Finally, a camera – that points at the floor – records an image to confirm the findings. Faults are logged on a map and colour coded by severity.