Unfortunately, potholes are a driving hazard many UK motorists can’t avoid! They can be hard to spot and cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage to a car’s wheels, suspension, and steering system – even if hit at slow speeds.
With the extremely cold weather we experience this time of year, the UK’s pothole problem is often during winter, when water gets into cracks in the roads and freezes. This loosens the surface material, eventually causing holes to appear, some of which can be quite large!
Reducing the likelihood of pothole damage
Potholes are often hard to spot making them difficult to avoid. But there are some good driving habits you can practice, to help prevent serious damage to your vehicle.
- Stay alert and keep your eyes on the road ahead. Potholes can crop up overnight, which means even roads you travel on frequently, may no longer be in as good a condition
- Keep your tyres well maintained. If your tyres are already in a poor condition and you hit a pothole, the risk of damage to your vehicle could be much higher
- If you can’t avoid going over a pothole, reduce your speed to help reduce the impact
- Hitting deep potholes might even mean the steering ‘jumps’ out of your hands. Holding your steering wheel at the “ten and two” position will help you maintain control
Damage to look out for
Even at a reduced speed, hitting a pothole can cause damage to your vehicle. Pullover when it’s safe to do so, and carefully check your vehicle’s tyres and wheel rims for signs of damage. It’s also worth looking underneath your vehicle for signs of leaking fluid.
Not all damage will be visible – you may notice unusual vibrations or sounds. One of the main issues caused can be misalignment – if your vehicles steering feels odd, possibly ‘pulling’ the car to one side or the other, the wheel alignment might have been affected.
If you notice any of the above, we recommend you get this checked by your local mechanic as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of developing more serious problems in future.
Help out your fellow motorists by reporting potholes
Did you know potholes can also be reported to your local council? Help make the roads safer for yourself and other drivers by contacting local authorities if you spot a pothole – with a note of exactly where it was.
You can report local pothole problems through: https://www.gov.uk/report-pothole
If the problem is on a motorway or A road in England, you will need to contact Highways England about this: https://report.highwaysengland.co.uk/
Finally, it’s worth noting that you may be able to claim compensation from your local council for the cost of any repairs. Include all the details you have collected including photos and repair receipts. Local councils have a duty to keep roads safe and well maintained, if the pothole you hit was known to them – you may be able to recoup some of your expenses.