It may be warm and sunny at present, but many drivers will be only too aware that the winter and the subsequent 'beast from the east' has left a legacy of plenty of potholes.

According to Asphalt UK, a pothole has been repaired every 21 seconds in England and Wales over the past year, but every driver will be aware that there are plenty more all over the place.

For that reason, a new innovation by Ford may be particularly timely. The new Ford Focus has been introduced with its pioneering pothole detection technology.

This works by using sensors to detect when the wheel is dropping into a pothole and acts to adjust the suspension. This restricts how much the wheel drops and means that as the hatchback exits the pothole, the tyre and wheel do not hit the other side of the pothole as hard when the vehicle exits.

This adjustment is made using the Continuously Controlled Damping technology that is an optional feature of the car. A vehicle equipped with this will see the suspension, body, steering and braking monitored at a frequency of once every two milliseconds, with the suspension adjusting to these signals to make the ride smoother.

Ford Focus vehicle dynamics supervisor Guy Mathot said: "Our engineers are always searching for the roughest roads to really test our suspension to the limit, but more and more, we're noticing that the rough roads are finding us.

"Potholes are a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon, but with our advanced suspension technology for [the] all-new Focus, we've been able to reduce their impact."

Last month, the AA called Britain's roads "a national disgrace" as it revealed the firm had already seen three times as many pothole-related car insurance claims in the first four months of the year as it had in the whole of 2017.

During this time, the number of call-outs to repair cars damaged by potholes had doubled, compared with the same period last year.

Ben Robb, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, adds: “Britain's pothole problem has been particularly bad this year, so this innovation by Ford is very timely.”

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