By: Lisa Harper
With the recent stint of bad weather it’s not surprising we’re seeing an increase in the number of potholes on UK roads. Potholes are formed when water gets into road surface and freezes. This causes the road surface to contract and creates cracks in the surface. When the road thaws out the surface expands causing the cracks to break up. Cars constantly travelling over this cracked surface further weaken the road and lead to the formation of potholes.
In Britain potholes are a big problem with the Asphalt Industry Alliance figures indicating that over 24,000 miles of road are currently in need of repair. Whilst the total shortfall required to fix current potholes is estimated to be around £556 million. Even if local authorities had this money it is estimated it would take 12 years to catch up with the current backlog of potholes. Further adding to the problem is the long time between road resurfacing; most British roads are only resurfaced once every 54 years.
Potholes generally cause damage to car tyres, wheels and suspension, however low vehicles can also suffer damage to the body and underside of the vehicle. Common issues include buckled wheels, lumps in the tyre, cracked alloys and issues with the tracking and wheel balancing.
Try to manoeuvre around potholes wherever possible. If you must go over a pothole slow down on your approach and do not brake whilst travelling over a pothole. Braking whilst travelling over a pothole can cause your tyre to slam into the edge of the pothole with more force than if you just travelled over it. Travelling too fast over a pothole can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and ultimately result in an accident, so always approach potholes with caution.
If your car is damaged as a result of a pothole it is possible to claim for some or all of the repairs from the authority responsible for maintaining the road. ‘Moneysavingexpert’ have a comprehensive guide on claiming, however we’ve summarised the main steps below:
- Gather as much information as possible. Take pictures of the pothole if possible and make sure you get a full report from your mechanic regarding the damage.
- Most councils then have a claim form which can usually be downloaded from their website. Fill this in including as much detail as possible and submit it.
- At this stage be prepared to negotiate, the council may not offer the full amount of the repair bill depending on circumstances and they may reject the claim completely. If you’re not happy with the outcome you can make a full claim but it can be a time consuming process.
- If you did decide to continue then the next step would be to request the road repair policy and inspection history from the council under the Freedom of Information Act. Once you receive this information you need to go through it thoroughly. Look for any ways in which the authority has failed to meet its own and national policy and could therefore be liable for the damage to your car.
- Once you’ve built up a case submit your claim. Some authorities will still reject the claim at this stage or fail to meet your expectations. Your next option would be to take the case to the small claims courts.
A study conducted by the AA in 2017 found that only 1 in 5 people report potholes. This is a real problem as councils don’t have the resources to patrol all roads, so information from the public can be vital. Reporting potholes is easy, most councils have a simple system on their website allowing you to report the problem or you can visit the government’s report a pothole page. Remember most local authorities will only consider it a pothole if it is over 40mm deep.
It’s important you are as specific as possible when reporting the location of the pothole. Don’t just report the road, check out your surroundings and try to find landmarks or house numbers to pinpoint the approximate location on the road.
There are also numerous independent website that encourage people to report potholes and are particularly popular in the cycling community due to the risk potholes present to cyclists. One of the most popular ‘fillthathole’ has recently ranked the 10 worst local authorities with potholes. Do you live in one of the top 10?
1. Surrey Country Council
2. Kent County Council
3. Hertfordshire County Council
4. Essex County Council
5. Lancashire County Council
6. Glasgow City Council
7. Buckinghamshire County Council
8. Hampshire County Council
9. Oxfordshire County Council
10. Cheshire East Council
Please note we record all our calls to ensure that we give you the service you deserve.
We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners
who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of
their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.
Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us to improve your experience by providing
insights into how the site is being used. For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please
*Your browser is currently set to 'Do Not Track' and therefore some options have been disabled. Please adjust your browser settings to enable these options to be chosen.
The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing
your browser preferences.
These cookies allow our website to remember information that changes the way the site looks or behaves,
so that you can personalise your experience.
We use statistic cookies to monitor page traffic on our website. This information enables us to improve
the website for visitors.
Social cookies allow us to track visits from our social pages and may be used to target adverts based on your social media preferences.
These cookies allow us to understand general customer behaviour and track where you have visited from,
which allows us to monitor the success of our marketing campaigns.
Cookies are small text files that can be used by websites to make a user's experience more efficient.
The law states that we can store cookies on your device if they are strictly necessary for the operation of this site. For all other types of cookies we need your permission.
This site uses different types of cookies. Some cookies are placed by third party services that appear on our pages.
Your consent applies to the following domains: www.stoneacre.co.uk
Cookies are used to analyse web site traffic and are commonly used on the internet to make your browsing more efficient by remembering your preferences and tailoring its operation accordingly. Please be aware that cookies do not harm your system.
These cookies do not give us access to any personal information and although most webs browsers allow cookies they can be turned off if you wish by using your “help” facility. This may prevent you taking full advantage of our web site.