1. ITV Report

Sharp rise in motorists hitting potholes as breakdowns increase by a fifth

Vehicle breakdowns caused by potholes increased by a fifth during the last three months of 2019, new figures suggest.

The RAC received more than 2,000 call-outs for problems such as distorted wheels, broken suspension springs and damaged shock absorbers between October and December, an increase of around 300 compared with the same period in 2018.

Pothole-related faults represented 1.1% of all breakdowns attended by the company last year. Drivers are 1.7 times more likely to break down as a result of a pothole than they were in 2006, the RAC said.

We might so far be experiencing a milder but wetter winter than in the last couple of years, but our figures clearly show the problem of potholes has not gone away. Our patrols are still attending on average around one pothole-related breakdown every hour of the day. We anticipate the Government will pledge further funds to help cash-strapped councils mend potholes in the March Budget, but such pledges are only chipping away at the problem, and they're unfortunately not addressing the root cause of why so much of the UK is still characterised by crumbling road surfaces

– Nicholas Lyes, RAC

Hit a pothole? You may be able to claim for damage.

If you hit a pothole you may be able to claim compensation. But your chances of success depend on whether the pothole has already been reported.

According to the RAC councils have a statutory defence that they cannot be held liable for a defect they are not aware of either because it has not been reported to them or it has not been picked up their own system of inspection and maintenance.

To make a claim you must address it to the right authority. Sending it to the wrong place could mean your claim is delayed or doesn't get looked at. If the pothole:

You'll need to provide as much evidence as possible on the damage eport form.

  • Copies of estimates or invoices for repairs to your vehicle
  • A current MOT certificate
  • Photos of the damage if you have them

And if you have fully comprehensive insurance your insurer may payout.

  • Take notes of the location of the pothole.
  • Have witnesses
  • Get garage repair quotes
  • Be willing to negotiate
  • Consider the small claims court