Worst ever pothole season warning
As the icy blast that gripped Britain is beginning to thaw motorists are being warned to prepare for "the worst ever pothole season" on the road network, according to experts.
The state of the roads will deteriorate "incredibly quickly" over the coming months, said a spokesman from the website Potholes.co.uk.
Insurance provider Warranty Direct, which runs the website, said they expect to see a sharp increase in claims for axle and suspension related damage in the coming weeks.
A spokesman said the site had already seen a huge increase in web traffic during the nationwide blanketing of snow.
He estimated British motorists paid out £320 million last year from damage incurred from potholes.
"That figure could pale into insignificance," said Warranty Direct spokesman Duncan McClure-Fisher.
"The roads are going to deteriorate incredibly quickly over the coming months.
"Given the severity and earlier than normal arrival of harsh wintry conditions, everything is pointing towards a miserable period for motorists.
"Local councils and central Government have a duty of care to maintain the roads of Britain. Yet, with the extended period of cold weather and councils trimming budgets across the country, it's hard to see how they will be able to tackle what points towards being the worst ever pothole season."
Potholes are caused by water or snow filling existing cracks in road surfaces and freezing. The expansion causes breaks on the road, which is revealed when the ice melts. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles cause more damage.