Swerving to avoid potholes

72% of drivers have swerved potholes but only a fifth have ever reported one

72% of drivers have swerved potholes but only a fifth have ever reported one

72% of drivers have swerved potholes but only a fifth have ever reported one

Nearly three quarters of AA members have swerved to avoid a pothole but only a fifth have ever reported one, new AA-Populus research reveals. This underlines the extent to which these road hazards are under-reported.

On the day the Asphalt Industry Alliance's 'Alarm' survey, the road industry’s long-standing record of the appalling state of UK roads is published, a survey of 25,208 AA members in mid-February also found that half of them let councils off the hook by not reporting bad potholes on the roads near where they live.

Most active in reporting potholes are the Scots and drivers in the South East, both with 22% having reported a pothole in the past. Least active are those in London, with 14% reporting, against an average of 19%.

A major part of the problem is that many drivers (41%) do not know enough about how to report them.

Region Swerved a
pothole
Reported a
pothole
Don't know how to
report one
Scotland

80%

22% 

42% 

North East

65% 

17% 

40% 

North West

71% 

17% 

41% 

Yorks & Humber

70%

17% 

41% 

West Midlands

73%

18% 

45% 

East Midlands

69%

19% 

41%

Wales

65%

15% 

38% 

East Anglia

72%

20% 

40% 

London

66%

14% 

43% 

South East

74%

22% 

39% 

South West

71%

20% 

39% 

Northern  Ireland

69% 

16% 

50% 

UK overall

72%

19%

41% 

Escape paying compensation

Many local authorities now have easy to use pot-hole reporting systems on their websites and the AA urges drivers to use them.

If a bad pothole is not reported, and damage to a vehicle occurs, the highway authority may escape paying compensation, but if the pothole had been reported and the highways authority has not taken action a driver might stand a better chance of getting compensation.

Overall a disappointing 11%, only 6% in Wales, say they have seen information from their local authority describing their policy and approach to repairing potholes.  Drivers in the South-East were most likely to have seen this information.

It is also important for drivers to bear in mind that they can do their bit too by reporting pot-holes. This increases the chance of preventing damage, a possible crash and casualties, and getting compensation

Edmund King OBE, president of the AA

A serious concern for drivers

Edmund King, the AA’s president, says: “Despite recent relatively mild winters and promises that Britain’s pothole epidemic would be reversed it remains a serious concern for drivers.  We know from our research that two out of five drivers have suffered pot-hole damage in the last two years which is shocking.

“It is clear local authorities need to do more to inform drivers of their reporting systems and policies. It is also important for drivers to bear in mind that they can do their bit too by reporting potholes. This increases the chance of preventing damage, a possible crash and casualties, and getting compensation.”

Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey 2016

According to the 2016 Asphalt Industry Alliance survey of local authorities, the time it would take to bring roads to a "reasonable condition" has risen by a year in the last 12 months, despite more than two million potholes being filled.

  • Fixing roads in England and Wales will cost £11.8 billion and take 14 years.
  • The number of potholes filled over the last year has dropped but the figure remains high at 2.2 million
  • It would take over a decade to clear the backlog of repairs in England and Wales
  • 67 years is the average time before a "non-principal road" is resurfaced in England - a growth of 30% since last year
  • £28.4 million was paid in road user compensation claims in England and Wales in the past year
  • Local authority highway teams in England have seen budgets drop by 16% and a third of councils said they had to cope with unforeseen costs, primarily due to adverse weather conditions damaging roads.

(23 March 2016)