Probing the perennial problem of potholes

BROKEN ROADS: The AA has surveyed the problems caused by potholes on Britain's roads.
BROKEN ROADS: The AA has surveyed the problems caused by potholes on Britain's roads.
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A third of UK drivers have had their vehicles damaged by potholes in the last two years.

National breakdown provider The AA and consumer research agency Populus quizzed more than 17.000 members to gain insight into the perennial problem.

The poll found that this included damage to tyres and bodywork, and even led to crashes. Overall 32 per cent of drivers have experienced vehicle damage caused by potholes in the last two years. Damage is most likely in Scotland where 37 per cent report damage.

Older drivers seem to be the best at avoiding potholes with only 25 per cent of over 65s reporting vehicle damage. The rate is almost twice as high, 42 per cent, among the youngest, 18 to 24-year-old drivers.

The survey also found that only one in five people report potholes. Some 51 per cent of people surveyed have seen bad potholes locally, but not reported them. But 40 per cent said they would report a pothole if they knew how to do it.

The AA and Populus also carried out another joint survey into potholes in February. When asked if they would volunteer to fill potholes themselves – 20 per cent of people said they would if it was allowed by the local council.

A spokesman said: “If you’ve already experienced damage to your car, you can claim from your council for pothole damage. But you will need to collect evidence to apply for compensation. The defect in the road also needs to be a certain size to count as a pothole. This varies from council to council, but a depth of more than 40mm (about the size of two pound coins) and a width similar to a dinner plate, is usually the minimum.

“It also depends on how busy or critical the road is - a pothole on a quiet road might need to be quite noticeable, before it gets repaired.

“If you feel the council have neglected their duty to keep roads safe, you have the right to make a pothole claim.”