Car damage by potholes

(Level 5)
17 Oct 2013 14:21, updated
19 Nov 2009, published

When out driving, the last thing you think about is whether or not you have to swerve to avoid damaging your car in a pothole. Sometimes potholes are easily seen but other times, you just drive into them and only realise afterwards when you feel your car shake.

How are potholes formed?
When there’s bad weather such as rain, the water gets into the cracks of the asphalt of the road surface. In time, the asphalt will crack and on top of that it will cave in as well causing a crater. This is why local councils grit the road surfaces to prevent ice forming that will later damage the roads causing potholes.

What damage can a pothole do to your car?

  • Swerving to avoid a pothole can cause you to spin out of control and hit an oncoming vehicle and vehicles behind can crash into you
  • Tyres can burst
  • Problems with car suspension

Don’t forget the time and money it takes to repair the damage especially if you go through your insurance and your premiums are likely to go up as well.

What can I do if my car has been damaged by a pothole?

First of all take pictures of where the accident happened and if you have a witness, then this can also help with your claim.
Write down in detail what happened just like when you make a claim through your insurance company.
Find out what local council is responsible for the road which has the pothole and calmly tell them what happened.

In some cases the council will pay for the repairs to your vehicle but sometimes they will not accept their fault. If this is the case, then stay calm and try to negotiate with them. You may have to accept less than what is needed to cover repair costs but something is better than nothing.

Don’t give up if your claim is initially rejected as many people write to the council but also contact the Chief Executive and the local paper. As the local council do not want cases like this to be made public, they will immediately try to put things right. The council gets millions of pounds every year from the government to make roads safer, so do not accept poor road conditions as they are a hazard and can be very dangerous for everyone.