Potholes Are Continuing to Get Worse: Our Expert Answers Your Questions


In the winter months, potholes become worse and are often a hidden danger; pools of water may seem to be a harmless puddle, but are actually disguising a far deeper pothole. This means unsuspecting motorists drive into potholes without realising until it's too late.

On National Pothole Day, set up by Colin Mahoney, the founder of Street Repairs, the RAC revealed that the damage caused by potholes has increased by a quarter in the past year, despite our warmer winter.

With the colder weather starting to bite and the potential for potholes to continue worsening, Joint Head of Road Traffic Accidents at Simpson Millar's Manchester office, Simon Stanfield, answers your questions.

What Damage Can Potholes Cause?

According to Warranty Direct, potholes are responsible for 1 in 10 car failures on UK roads and cost vehicle owners £730 million each year. Potholes often cause damage to the car's suspension, steering, or tyres and the average costs of repair sits at £247.

Potholes are at best, an annoyance that we try to avoid, but at worst, they can be deadly. Cyclists in particular are at risk of serious harm, as running over one could see you thrown off your bike.

Just earlier this month was it reported that 52 year old athlete Kate Vanloo cycled into a pothole filled with water in Warwickshire. She was thrown from her bike into the path of a passing car and sadly died at the scene of the accident. It was reported by the Mail Online that the council had been due to repair the pothole, but had decided to delay the work until January.

How Do You Report a Pothole in Your Area?

In addition to having a place where you can report potholes in your area, your Council is under an obligation to have a system in place to inspect and repair potholes. This can include things such as:

  • How often roads will be inspected,
  • The type of damage that will be repaired,
  • How long repairs must be conducted after being made aware of the damage.

Councils must also have a system that allows people who have spotted potholes to report them. The main issue with this is that these systems aren't always easy to use.

Street Repairs have solved this problem and have made it quicker and easier than ever to make your council aware of a pothole through their website, www.streetrepairs.co.uk or through their app which you can download onto your smartphone.

Similarly, the CTC: The National Cycling Charity recognised that more needed to be done to simplify reporting road defects so that everyone can play a role in minimising the dangers to cyclists. They launched the website www.fillthathole.org.uk which can also be downloaded as an app.

Using these websites, you simply need to fill out the location of the pothole and include any additional details about the damage. Your council must then fulfil their duty to get the pothole fixed!

What Happens If You Have An Accident Because of a Pothole?

Whilst doing your bit to report potholes can help to make sure that more road users are kept safe, figures show that road traffic accidents due to potholes are still on the rise.

Road accidents not only result in a damaged vehicle, they can leave you suffering with serious, long lasting injuries. If your accident was because of a pothole that your council was aware of, but failed to fix, they could be held accountable for the harm you have suffered.

Our Road Traffic Accident solicitors are experts in helping people who have been injured in road accidents claim the compensation they're entitled to. If you have been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault, get in touch to see how we can help.

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