pothole on country road
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How to report a pothole

Most UK drivers are aware of the large number of potholes facing our streets, and the issues and damage they can cause to our cars. In fact, potholes seem to be a widespread problem on British roads, with the Road Surface Treatments Association’s latest report finding that it will take £12.6 Million and 14 years to handle the current backlog of required repairs[1]

While there’s no guarantee you’ll see your regular trouble spot resurfaced anytime soon, the best step you can take is to ensure that they’ve been reported. Otherwise, your local authority may not even be aware of the damage in the first place, and it could be weeks or months before somebody else takes the initiative to make a complaint. 

What are potholes?

Potholes are large breaks or hollows in the asphalt, concrete or gravel surface of a road. They most commonly appear in the winter months or early spring, where water and fluctuating temperatures cause these surfaces to repeatedly expand and contract. This weakens the road over time, and combined with the weight of vehicles applying pressure, parts of the surface begin to deteriorate. 

Are potholes dangerous?

In short, yes, they can be. Most potholes will never be more than a minor annoyance to drivers, but they can cause damage to cars and injuries to people. According to Potholes.co.uk, British authorities currently pay out more than £30 million in compensation claims due to poor quality road surfaces[2], which is why reporting potholes – particularly large ones – is something you should take seriously. 

How do I report a pothole?

Reporting a pothole is relatively straightforward and shouldn’t take you too long. Just follow these steps: 

  1. Gather evidence. If you want to report a pothole, you’ll need to get some evidence together before you submit a complaint. Visit the pothole in question and take plenty of pictures, and be sure to make a note of its precise location – taking a screenshot from your smartphone’s maps app can be great for this. Consider taking a tape measure so that you can also photograph and note the width, length and depth of the hole. 
  2. Submit your report. In most cases, you’ll need to report the pothole to the local authority for whose boundary the section of road falls into. If you’re not sure which authority this might be, simply enter the area’s postcode on the GOV.UK website, and you’ll be directed accordingly. 

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can quickly and easily report potholes on their respective government websites, using a map.

If the pothole is on a motorway or major A road, you may need to contact Highways England or Traffic Scotland directly instead. To find out if this applies to the road in question, view the map of roads they manage online.

Highways England can be contacted via email at info@highwaysengland.co.uk, or at 0300 123 5000 by telephone. Traffic Scotland can be emailed at info@trafficscotland.org or contacted by calling 0800 028 1414.

[1] https://www.rsta-uk.org/potholes-the-vital-statistics/

[2] https://www.potholes.co.uk/facts