Pitfalls of Potholes: What's the Damage?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Met Office has confirmed that this winter was officially the wettest since records began in 1910. More than that, the flood-hit South West suffered over double the rainfall expected in an average winter. But what does this mean for Britain’s road network?

The damage caused by the deluge to our highways and byways is being felt keenly by drivers - with axle and suspension failure, accidents and near misses caused by poor road surfaces costing UK motorists an estimated £730 million every year.

It’s predicted that as many as one in 10 mechanical failures on UK roads are caused by potholes. But there's good news for drivers this month, with the government announcing that an extra £140 million has been allocated to fix roads devastated by the record breaking wet winter. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin also reported that a fund earmarked for the worst hit areas would be raised by £36.5 million to £80 million.

But what happens if you hit a pothole? You could call on your car insurance, but can you claim compensation from your local authority? Sadly, it’s not a forgone conclusion that the Council will pay up. There’s no common ground on what’s accepted as a dangerous pothole, and all Councils have their own guidelines.

The fact-packed independent website Potholes.co.uk is the perfect port of call for motorists looking for advice, pothole maps and case studies from people who’ve suffered thanks to the scourge of British roads. This brainchild of a lobby group, set up in 2007 to address the problem, the site is designed to encourage motorists to report poor road conditions to regional councils and provide guidance on making a claim.

So while we wait for authorities to get their hands on the promised government funding, make sure you’re up to scratch on the pitfalls in your local area and protect your vehicle from unwanted damage.


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