The number of pothole-related breakdowns doubled in the first three months of 2018, compared to that of the last quarter of last year, the RAC has said.

Research by the breakdown firm found that its fleet responded to 5,540 callouts for damage caused by potholes between January and March (Q1) this year. In Q4 of 2017, the number was just 2,841.

Damage to shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels were all reasons as to why RAC crews were called out, with the percentage of callouts attributed to potholes being 2.3 per cent in Q1 2018 – the third highest since 2006, only following behind the same periods in 2017 and 2015.

Despite this rise, the number wasn’t as high as the RAC predicted, although it expects the next quarter to be a better representation of the state of the Britain’s roads.

Bad weather from the ‘Beast from the East’ in February and early March led to freezing temperatures and excessive salt spreading, leading to deteriorated roads.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Few would disagree that the harsh cold weather experienced over the last three months had led to a further deterioration of road surfaces.

“The figure for the first three months of 2018 was not as high as we had been expecting, probably due to the fact that that the weather hit relatively late in the quarter. For this reason we feel we are likely to see more vehicles suffering pothole damage in the second quarter of 2018 compared to recent years.”

A study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance recently found that there was a £5.6bn annual funding deficit to fill potholes, with an estimated £9.3bn needed to fill every blemish in England and Wales. The annual study also said that a fifth of local roads are in “poor condition”.

How do I claim if a pothole damages my vehicle?

Road safety and breakdown service GEM Motoring Assist has issued its seven steps to build a successful case if you believe your car has been damaged by a pothole, and have sufficient evidence.

  1. Make sure you have the exact location of the offending pothole.
  2. Note the date you went through it, what direction you were travelling in and the approximate size and depth you believe the pothole to have been.
  3. If it’s safe to, examine the pothole and take photographs if you can. Never put yourself at risk by doing this, though.
  4. Obtain any quotes for repairs required to your vehicle from the pothole damage. Keep any invoices and receipts safe.
  5. Next, write to your local authority, including all the details and requesting a settlement for the claim.
  6. You’ll likely have your claim rejected, as they will say they have a system of regular inspection and repair. Check what the council might be liable for, and ensure they are carrying out the procedures they claim to have in place.
  7. If you feel you have a strong case, it could be worth seeking legal advice or taking a case to a small claims court. But remember this will likely be a time-consuming and expensive process.
Ted Welford


April 18, 2018

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