New research from heycar and Honest John Vans has revealed the staggering cost of pothole damage in England.
We’ve all been there. One minute you’re driving along in your van, listening to your favourite tunes and thinking about the next job, the next moment BANG your van hits a pothole and you are left wondering what damage has been inflicted to your trusty workhorse.
In most cases, a pothole will be an unpleasant but harmless experience. However, following a freedom of information request, it has been revealed that councils in England forked out more than £8 million of taxpayers’ funds last year to settle damage claims caused by potholes. The biggest single claim resulted in a payout of almost a quarter of a million pounds.
Despite filling 1.2 million potholes last year – at an average of more than 20,000 every week – there are still more than 100,000 recorded potholes in our roads at any one time.
Fixing a pothole is a relatively cheap process, costing an average of £70 a time in England; however, this varies drastically as you travel up and down the country with some authorities paying up to £400.
It means that as fast as council contractors fill the potholes, more are created that add to the workload, sparking huge compensation claims where people are injured and their vehicles damaged.
My van has been damaged by a pothole, what should I do?
If you think your van has been damaged by a pothole then you should pull over to a safe location and check your vehicle.
A pothole can cause a range of problems, from tyre punctures to serious suspension damage. If you think your van has a problem then you should inspect it and arrange for it to be recovered if necessary. Take note, you can be fined up to £2,500 and be banned from driving for driving a van in a dangerous condition.
The UK’s highway authorities and agencies are legally obliged to maintain the roads to a safe standard – that includes identifying and filling potholes.
Make some notes about the location and size of the pothole, photographs are also a good idea but don’t put yourself at risk by attempting to photograph a pothole on the middle of a busy A road at rush hour.
If your van needs to be repaired then get some quotes before making a claim against the authority that’s responsible for the road. It’s a good idea to have evidence of the quotes, invoices, receipts and whatever else you need to back up your claim.
Contact the local authority and tell them what damage has occurred to your van, why you think they’re liable and the specific location where the incident took place (road name and the nearest marker post number or feature which identifies the part of the road you were on). Also include the date and time the damage was caused, as well as any evidence for the cost of repairing your van.
However, take note, a local highway authority can’t be held responsible for a pothole they didn’t know about. They might not have known about it if it hadn’t been reported to them or because it appeared after their road check.
The 10 councils which paid out the most to settle compensation claims for damage and injury caused by potholes last year (2019/20):
East Sussex £329,311
West Sussex £317,524
St Helens £225,625
For more van and pick-up advice, visit www.honestjohn.co.uk/vans