etyres flooded with calls to replace pothole-damaged tyres
Last year a survey by Continental tyres claimed that more than three million motorists had been involved in accidents during the UK's Big Winter Freeze.
The German tyre manufacturer discovered that one in ten motorists had pranged, scraped or crashed their cars as Britain shuddered through the coldest temperatures in 30 years.
And following another bout of severe winter weather, coupled with badly damaged roads, this year the figure could rise even higher, according to etyres.
Now etyres is urging motorists to be extra vigilant regarding their tyres, especially after driving over a pothole.
Tony Bowman, managing director of etyres, said: 'Since the start of the new year, we have had hundreds of calls from customers whose tyres have been damaged by potholes.
'Sometimes the damage is immediately apparent and a vehicle should not be driven with a burst or punctured tyre. In this case it is advisable to replace the damaged tyre with the spare so that you can get home safely without causing any more damage to the vehicle.
'However, in other cases, the damage is less obvious, it can cause a slow puncture or a bulge in the rubber. If this the tyre isn't repaired or replaced it could lead to a potentially dangerous blow out at high speed.'
Some motorists are lowering the pressure in their tyres to cushion the jolt from the pothole impact. However, Mr Bowman warned: 'This is a mistake and is not recommended.
'Well-maintained tyres will help to minimise the risk of damage from potholes and a correctly inflated tyre will always offer more protection to a wheel than an over or under-inflated one.'