By subscribing we will send you emails containing offers. You can read our privacy policy here.

UK Roads Are Officially Getting Worse

 Published 13th March 2018
General Guides 

No matter which part of the UK you have chosen to call home there will be one thing that you share with every other road user in the country. Potholes.

The RAC released their latest Pothole Index at the end of January and the news is not good for drivers.

A total of 2,830 RAC individual member breakdowns were logged between October and December 2017 where vehicles had broken down due to damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels, likely due to poor quality road surfaces. That's an increase of 11% compared to the same period of 2016.

And bear in mind that this only covers call-outs to RAC members during the last quarter of 2017. It doesn't take into account anyone who had a pothole related breakdown whilst belonging to another breakdown recovery organisation, nor does it include the other nine months of the year. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the real figure is significantly higher.

It's a frustration for all drivers, whether you are a private individual or a business driver.

Matt Dyer, who is managing director of LeasePlan UK, one the country's leading car and van leasing companies, highlighted drivers' frustrations perfectly:

“The UK has suffered from road congestion and pitted surfaces for decades. Our roads are vital for helping businesses power the country through our challenging economic circumstances; so why should we have to settle for a failing network? The current approach is like putting a plaster over an open wound – it's not sustainable or fixing the actual issue – that fact our transport infrastructure is in desperate need of an overhaul.”

Potholes represent a serious road safety risk and anyone who has driven into one will know it can be a uncomfortable experience, and a potentially costly one. Buckled or broken wheels, broken springs, and damaged shock absorbers can be expensive problems to put right, not to mention hugely inconvenient. Given that road users contribute around £40bn in taxation every year it shouldn't be too much to ask for a road network that doesn't damage your car.

So what do you do if you hit a pothole and damage your lease car?

Obviously the first thing to do is to inform your lease provider as soon as possible. If possible take photos of the pothole and make a note of the circumstances at the time you hit it. If any bits of trim have come off the car try and recover them if it's safe to do so. Give the lease company as much information as you possibly can so they can act appropriately.

It's possible that you may be entitled to compensation from the relevant authority to cover the costs of any repairs, but only if the offending pothole has already been reported. Local councils and the Highways Agency have a duty to ensure the roads are in good repair but they can't be held responsible if they weren't aware of the problem.

Failing that it may be possible to claim on your insurance if you have fully comprehensive cover. Or if you have a maintained agreement any damage may be covered already - if you are unsure check with your lease provider before any repairs are carried out.

In an ideal world this wouldn't be an issue but decades of underfunding have left us with a road network that in many places isn't fit for purpose. The best course of action is to keep an eye out for potholes and avoid them as much as possible. Keep your distance from the vehicle in front and you should have time to take evasive action.

View our latest blog posts