Although councils across England have increased their spending on pothole repairs and road maintenance, they are still a major issue throughout the UK especially for motorists, causing a potential safety hazard.
Potholes occur with severe winter weather when expansion and contraction of water takes place after entering the ground under a road or pavement. If the water freezes, it takes up more space under the road or pavement, resulting in it cracking, bending and weakening when vehicles drive over it.
Road conditions in England
Gov.uk released a report on the conditions of roads throughout the UK in 2014, and at the end of the financial year they reported that local authorities (LAs) said 4% of the principal ‘A’ road network in England should have been considered for maintenance, the same as in the financial year ending 2013.
The RAC believes that the rise in potholes across the UK isn’t just from bad weather, they say it has stemmed from many cash-strapped councils’ reactive ‘patch and dash’ approach to repairs. This means rather than resurfacing roads properly, potholes are repaired quickly and sometimes in wet weather, resulting in them quickly breaking down and reappearing.
How potholes affect motorists
Potholes can affect motorists in a number of ways, leading to accidents.
- Cause buckled wheels.
- Create lumps or cracks in tyres.
- Lead to problems with wheel balancing.
Under the Highways Act 1980 Section 41 whoever controls the road has a legal duty to maintain it, which means if the road causes you to have an accident or damages your car, then the person in charge of that road should pay for repairs.
Motorists in the West Midlands have received thousands in compensation and according to the Express and Star, in total 106 compensation claims were made to Highways England over damaged vehicles in 2015.
How to claim
As per Money Saving Expert follow these steps to make a claim:
- Get the road repair policy and inspection history by using the Freedom of Information Act which provides public access to information held by public authorities. Email the authority telling them that you are making an FOI request and ask them any questions you have.
- Look at how the road was maintained.
- Check if the authority followed its own policy – and if that policy met national standards.
- As per Gov.uk submit your claim by contacting Highways England and telling them what the damage was, why you think they are responsible, the specific location where the damage took place – the road name and the nearest marker post number or feature which identifies the part of the road you were on and the date and time the damage was caused. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When you submit your claim one of three things will happen; either you will win and get full costs back, you will get a partial offer and may have to compromise, or your claim will be rejected.
- If you’re not satisfied then try the small claims court.
Get rid of hazardous potholes by contacting C R Macdonald, the leading tarmac contractors throughout the West Midlands, who will be happy to help.