Drivers will soon to be able to buy so-called “bump-proof” cars to avoid the damage and broken suspension caused by the potholes in Britain’s deteriorating roads.
Councils across the UK admit that nearly 25,000 miles of roads are in need of pothole repairs, the fixing of which will cost an estimated £9bn. Whilst motorists wait in the hope their local council will make the repairs sooner rather than later, car manufacturers have developed new technologies to help cars avoid possible pothole damage.
Ford has been one of the quickest to get their technology to the marketplace. The new Focus model will be fitted with sensors that detect craters and adjust the car’s speed to cushion the impact of the pothole on the car’s suspension and reduce the shock felt by those inside the vehicle, with the technology soon to be rolled out to other popular models.
The system, known as Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD), features 12 sensors that monitor the road surface beneath the car for lumps and bumps every two milliseconds. When it detects the edge of a pothole, it automatically adjusts the damper so the wheel does not fall as far into the hole, reducing the impact of the pothole on the car.
A Ford spokesperson commented “while potholes may be unavoidable, our development of an advanced computer-controlled shock absorber marks a huge step forward in minimising their effects.”
The new technology will be welcomed by British motorists facing what the RAC have dubbed a “plague of potholes” affecting Britain’s roads. An RAC survey showed 3,565 drivers reported broken suspension springs and damaged shock absorbers in just a three-month period, while police were forced to close part of a busy A-road in Stoke-on-Trent last month after a huge pothole opened up and caused serious damage to five vehicles in the space of just one hour.
RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “There is little doubt that the UK is experiencing a plague of potholes with road surface damage at some of the worst levels we have seen in years. The toxic combination of rain, ice and snow over a prolonged period have taken their toll and we are expecting that damage to cars will be significantly up on the same period in 2017.”
The motoring organisation has called on the government to ring-fence 5p per litre from existing fuel duty revenue to pay for long-term local road maintenance and repairs, to get Britain’s roads “fit of purpose”.