Prepare for Potholes

This Winter’s record rainfall has left the UK’s roads in a pitiful state, with potholes and damaged road surfaces the bane of many drivers. And, while the weather may be improving, the roads are unlikely to get any better.

Although councils filled more than two million potholes last year and  the government has pledged a further £200m to help local authorities battle the bumps.

It is estimates that it would take a cash injection of £12bn to get the roads in England and Wales back into reasonable condition, with this level of investment unlikely drivers need to be aware of the risks associated with potholes. At low speed, hitting a deep pothole can cause damage to tyres, wheels and steering alignment. Left unchecked, this damage could increase the risk of further problems and even an accident.

At higher speeds, the same pothole can cause serious damage to a vehicle, even potentially causing a driver to lose control of it , risking collision with other road users, property or pedestrians.

While you can submit a claim for the cost of any repairs to the local highway authority, it’s not always possible for a claim to be successful. Highway authorities have a statutory defence that they cannot be held liable for a defect, such as a pothole, if they were not aware because it hadn’t been reported or picked up in their own road surveys.

As a result the best strategy to reduce the risks associated with hitting a pothole is to drive sensibly and maintain your vehicle so it is less susceptible to damage.

Be Vigilant and :

  • Avoid the potholes – Hitting a pothole can do serious damage to your vehicle and increase the risk of an accident. These driving tips will help keep you safe whatever the state of the road surface.
  • Drive carefully – If you cant avoid a pothole, slow down and try to avoid swerving round it as this could put you in danger of a more serious accident. Avoid braking as you go over the pothole as this can cause more damage and look out for other road users and pedestrians.
  • Check tyres and tyre pressures regularly– Look out for any bulges, nicks or unusual wear and if any doubt get them checked at a garage or tyre specialist. This will also ensure they are in the best possible condition to deal with poor quality road surfaces.

Report any potholes– Make the local highway authority aware of any defects in the road surface so they can repair it. Details can be found on the council’s website and some even include an online defect reporting form or special telephone number.

If you are unlucky enough to hit a pothole, then make sure the vehicle is checked out and any damage repaired a quickly as possible.