Pothole Problems And What To Look Out For

A Warning triangle in front of a broken down car after hitting a pothole

One of the more annoying issues with many of our roads are potholes. They can sneak up out of nowhere giving you a bit of a jolt as you pass over them, or worse causing damage to your vehicle.

What should you know about these nuisances that occur on our roads other than the need to avoid them?

Why are they a problem?

They can be dangerous for you and your vehicle, damaging wheels, tyres, axles, and suspensions.  
The loose chippings from potholes can cause serious windscreen damage, but potholes can also lead to more dangerous consequences, as accidents can occur when motorists swerve to avoid them or motorcyclists ride into them.

How to avoid a pothole 

  • Drive cautiously leaving plenty of distance between you and the car in front

  • Use hazard perception to scan the road ahead to spot them earlier allowing you to act sooner 

  • In wet conditions be aware of puddles as these could be hiding large potholes 

  • At night, ensure you have functioning, and clean headlights and the windscreen is clear for better visibility

Why do they keep occurring? 

Potholes occur when the tarmac cracks due to weather and traffic. This allows water to seep in to the sand and stone underneath, washing everything away and causing an ever-expanding hole, until it gets repaired.  
The issue is more prevalent in the UK due to the large fluctuations in our weather - in the summer getting in to the high 30’s and in the winter well below zero degrees.  
These extreme temperature variations can wreak havoc on tarmac which is why we end up with so many potholes.

What to do if you hit a pothole

If you do hit a pothole and it is safe to do so, pull over to check if there has been any damage to your vehicle. Driving on with a cracked wheel, blown out tyre or with steering issues can be very dangerous. 
It’s always a good idea to keep any breakdown cover details you may have to hand as these will be useful if you are unable to continue your journey because of damage. 

If you can take a note of where the pothole is situated there are websites online that you can report these to. It is important to do this as the local authority might not be aware of the offending pothole.

England and Wales https://www.gov.uk/report-pothole

Scotland https://www.mygov.scot/report-pothole

If your car is damaged by a pothole, you may be able to make a claim. The details of how to do this are listed on https://www.gov.uk/claim-for-damage-to-your-vehicle  

If you do need to make a claim on your car insurance, then ensure you have all the details to hand including any photos, dashcam footage, incident location and time, to make the process as smooth as possible. 

Potholes are likely to be worse in the winter when temperatures drop and visibility is lower, so follow our tips and stay vigilant to give yourself the best chance of avoiding them and a potential big repair bill.


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