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UK pothole crisis sees over one million driver’s cars damaged – Here’s how to claim

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UK pothole problem saw over one million cars affected in 2016

The UK’s pothole problem is getting worse with drivers reporting over a million potholes in 2016. 

Research, obtained by Confused.com from freedom of information requests to almost 200 local authorities, reveals 1,031,787 potholes were reported by drivers in 2016.

The total depth of potholes in the UK is 40,456m – which equates to 3.7 times the depth of the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

Scotland has the most recorded number of potholes (153,310) with the highest combined depth of 6,354 – which is the same as the height of 4,243 cars. 

Wales recorded the least amount with just 18,679 recorded with a total combined height of 733m. 

According to the research, one in three drivers (33 per cent) have had a bumpy ride and suffered damage to their vehicle as a result of poor road surfaces.

Damage was overwhelmingly caused to drivers’ tyres (64 per cent and/or their suspension (42 per cent). 

Local authorities had to fork out £3.1 million to compensate victims of pothole damage last year. 

Councils spent over £104 million on repairing potholes in Britain in 2016 but 69 per cent of drivers believe that they should spending more to tackle the problem with 52 per cent believing that it is a good use of public money. 

Scrolling to depths of 40km really puts the UK’s pothole problem into perspectiv

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com

Some councils are more obliging than others to deal with the pothole problem with Wiltshire Council making the biggest pay-out to victims of pothole damage. 

The council spent over half a million compensating victims of pothole damage. 

Prices to repair potholes also differs across the country. 

On average a pothole costs £245 to repair but in Westminster it costs £2,400 per hole. 

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Scrolling to depths of 40km really puts the UK’s pothole problem into perspective. 

“They are a major bugbear among drivers, not least because of the damage they do to our vehicles – around £3.1 million worth of damage.

“If drivers experience a bump in the road, they should report it to their local council as soon as possible before the problem gets any worse. 

“The cost of motoring alone is getting more and more expensive and damage repairs is a big contributor to this, as car parts increase in price as well. 

“For advice on pothole damage, and other ways to save on motoring costs, drivers can find more information at Confused.com.”


Damage caused by potholes typically affects the tyres and suspension

Here’s how you can claim if your car is damaged by a pothole: 

Check your car for damage 

Once you’ve pulled your car over, make sure to check to see if there is any physical or cosmetic damage. Also over the coming days and weeks keep an eye out for vibrations, the car pulling to one side or the steering wheel not being aligned properly. 

Make notes and take pictures

Take pictures of any damage, the pothole and make notes about what damage has occurred. Including something with a sense of scale in a picture could also help. 

Report the pothole

Report the pothole to the local county, city or borough council so that they can arrange repairs. 

Get quotes

When getting your car repaired, get multiple quotes and keep all of them along with invoices and receipts. 

Making a claim

Make a claim to the responsible council with all your evidence as this will help support your claim. 

One thing drivers making a claim should be aware of, however, is that under section 58 of the Highways Act 1980, councils have a defence against claims. 

In section 58 it details that if a council failed to maintain or repair a pothole they were aware of or hasn’t followed maintenance guidelines then a driver may be able to claim compensation. 

Motorists can also make a claim against their car insurance, however, this may impact premium costs and no claims bonuses.

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