Wednesday 22nd May 2013
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The unseasonable weather in the UK has done more than ruin people’s holidays: in many cases the havoc inflicted on the roads has resulted in potholes that have caused damage – or even worse, crashes – to people’s vehicles. This is the classic winter damage that can affect your vehicle.

Councils across the UK have faced budget cuts and several are behind schedule on road repairs. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that previous emergency repairs have not been robust enough to protect from winter damage against the recent cold snaps and icy conditions, making existing potholes even worse in addition to creating new ones.

Pothole awareness

Always be wary of the road conditions when you are driving and if you see the road surface is bad – slow down. Hitting a pothole at speed will result in far greater damage and may even result in a loss of control. Also be wary of other traffic, swerving into the path of traffic to avoid a hazard will result in a greater danger than potential damage to a vehicle.

Report potholes to the council, most have a telephone hotline you can find on the local government website. Don’t leave this to someone else, the more reports the council gets of a particular black spot, the more likely they will schedule a repair.

If you have hit a pothole, then check your vehicle for damage when it is safe to do so. Check your tyres and the wheel rims for deformation. Harder impacts may also damage the suspension and steering so check there is no vibration as you are driving. Some damaged parts may be easily replaced on some models, Breakeryard now have a series of common problem pages for Ford cars, so review the list to see if there’s a quick solution.

If a pothole damages your vehicle

In some cases, it is possible to claim compensation from the council. This becomes more likely if this is a pothole you have reported some time ago and has not been repaired. Be aware though, that this is done on a local level so the process and success of a claim will differ from county to county. Keep a note of the time, location, road name and the direction of travel where you hit the pothole. Having details of the depth and size of the hole will also help, but don’t risk your safety or that of other motorists by wandering into the road to measure it. Any witnesses to the incident will also help.

Keep track of repair costs

If you make a home repair, keep a list of the costs required to fix the damage. For more serious problems, you will need to get a number of quotes from garages who should be able to provide a report and an estimation of the repair costs.