Damage to vehicles from potholes is a serious and growing issue in the UK. With research revealing over 6.3million drivers had their cars damaged by potholes throughout 2016 at an average cost of £108.60 per incident. Unfortunately, the UK’s roads are not being repaired fast enough, so drivers are at an increasing risk of damage to their vehicles.
In this blog, we’ll look at the damage potholes can cause, along with ways to report a pothole, and claim damage should your car be damaged by one.
Common Damage Caused By Potholes
Generally, a pothole can cause serious damage to a vehicle – particularly to the wheels and tyres, some of the most common forms of damage include:
- Buckled wheels
- Cracks and lumps in the tires
- Cracked alloys
- Rim wheel damage
- Exhaust system damage
- Engine damage
In addition to these, hitting a pothole can also knock out a vehicle’s wheel alignment, which can reduce handling and control whilst increasing your vehicle’s fuel usage.
How To Report A Pothole
The best way to get rid of a pothole in your area is to report it to your local council. To do this, head to your council’s website, or the GOV.UK website which will direct you to the right place. The Council website will then require you to pinpoint the location of the pothole so they can do repair it.
Alternatively, there are a number of independent pothole reporting sites, that will deliver your inputted information directly to your local council to save you the hassle – one of the most popular sites currently is streetrepairs.co.uk which was developed by Street Repairs alongside the RAC.
How To Claim Repair Damage From A Pothole
If you do hit a pothole and your vehicle is damaged, you can contact your local Council to make an appeal to receive compensation for the damage – unfortunately, if a pothole has not been reported the council have the right to reject your claim. To attempt you make a claim you should first:
- Take several pictures of the pothole, its position on the road and the damage it caused to your car as well as creating a sketch plan of the area.
- Make a note of the exact date and time you hit the pothole, this will help you if your claim is rejected and you decide to go to court.
- When you have your car repaired, make sure the mechanic gives you a copy of the bill that is clearly itemised and dated.
Once you have your photos, you are ready to try to make your claim:
- Find out who’s responsible for the maintenance of the road – for motorways and most A-roads this will be the highways agency and for other roads, it will be the local council.
- Once you have a quote or receipt for the repair work, you can make a formal complaint on your council’s website via letter or email.
- The council will then reject or accept your claim, this can take up to 90 days. They may also offer you a lower amount than your original claim.
- If you think your claim has been unfairly rejected, you should contact a solicitor or run your own case in the small claims court – remember this will come at a cost.
Alternatively, the council rejects your appeal, you may be able to claim via your insurer if you have fully comprehensive insurance. Unfortunately, this will be recorded as an at-fault claim and thus will affect your no claims bonus.
Advice For Avoiding Damage
Sometimes, avoiding a pothole is impossible – perhaps there is oncoming traffic and you are unable to move out of the way of the pothole, or perhaps the pothole is hidden by water. Here are a few tips to help you minimise the damage taken when driving through a pothole:
Try not to apply your brakes – when you brake, your vehicle tilts forward, this can put more pressure on the front suspension when you are driving over a pothole.
Check your tyre pressure – keeping your tyre pressure at the recommended pressure ensures your safety and minimises damage when driving over potholes.
Hold your steering wheel properly – if you are holding your steering wheel poorly and drive over a pothole, you could lose control of your vehicle.
Watch your speed – hitting a pothole at speed increase the amount of potential damage to your vehicle.
Vehicle Repair and Maintenance At Autocare
If you have any questions regarding what to do when you hit a pothole, or you need repairs carried out after hitting one, give one of our expert mechanics a call on 01291 627137.