Pothole Damage Claims on the Rise in South Africa Says Dialdirect
Potholes, a common indication of road deterioration are prevalent across South Africa. The South African Roads Federation reports that the country now harbours 25 million potholes, a staggering increase of 10 million compared to five years ago.
This year, Dialdirect has observed a 15% rise in accident claims related to potholes compared to the previous year, along with a 9% increase in claims for tyre damage directly caused by potholes. Shockingly, 76% of these claims involved such severe pothole damage that the affected vehicles became undrivable.
In South Africa, the majority of pothole-related claims originate from several cities, namely Pietermaritzburg (21%), Pretoria (20%), Potchefstroom (17%), Bloemfontein (15%), Johannesburg (14%), and Durban (13%). Most of these claims stem from incidents occurring during off-peak traffic when drivers accelerate.
“Dodging potholes has increasingly become a professional sport, but doing so can, and sometimes does, result in car accidents. Even if hitting a pothole doesn’t cause an accident, the damage incurred is significant. A single patch of poor road can lead to punctures, tyre bulges, misalignment and imbalance, uneven tyre wear, cracked rims, damage to the undercarriage, compromised tyre walls, and blowouts,” explains Anneli Retief, the head of Dialdirect Insurance.
Traditionally, if a motorist incurs damage to their vehicle after encountering a pothole, they could seek compensation directly from either the South African National Roads Agency or their local road agency, depending on the road they were driving on at the time of the incident. However, each road agency has its own claim procedure, and if the wrong agency is approached or incorrect information is provided, the case may be rejected or delayed.
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In response to the time-consuming nature of claiming for pothole damage from road agencies and the overarching issue of potholes, Dialdirect has introduced dedicated Pothole Insurance within its tyre and rim product. This coverage protects against accidental damage or loss caused by uneven road surfaces and potholes.
“While our jointly sponsored pothole fixing initiative in Johannesburg, the Pothole Patrol, is making substantial progress in eliminating potholes in the city, more needs to be done to safeguard motorists and address the issue in other provinces,” adds Retief.
Dialdirect offers the following guidelines for navigating poorly maintained roads:
Proactive maintenance: Ensure that your car undergoes regular checks and servicing. A vehicle in optimal condition to handle challenging road surfaces is the best initial defence.
On spec: Verify that the wheels and tyres you use align with the manufacturer’s specifications, and maintain proper tyre inflation to create an adequate cushion between the vehicle’s rims and the road.
Profile carefully: While low-profile tyres may enhance the sporty appearance of a vehicle, they reduce the space between the rim and the road. Choose tyres that strike the right balance between sportiness, comfort, and protection against rough road surfaces. Ideally, opt for tyres with rim protectors.
Emergency kit: Equip your vehicle with basic tools for changing wheels and essential safety equipment.
Alert & aware: Stay fully attentive to your surroundings, including road signs and technology that alert you to hazards.
Heavy loads, rough roads: Exercise caution when using roads or lanes frequented by heavy motor vehicles, as these areas typically deteriorate faster.
Cuts like a knife: Be cautious of steep road shoulders and surfaces littered with sharp debris, especially those that may damage a tyre’s less robust side wall.
Slow it down: Reducing your speed.
Source: Pothole claims are mounting in South Africa
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