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Calls for guidance on pothole swerving in Caithness

By David G Scott

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Motoring experts are calling on the government for guidance on how drivers should navigate pothole ridden roads to avoid costly damage to their vehicles.

With research revealing some potholes are taking over 18 months to be filled, the experts from Quotezone.co.uk say motorists need to know what they can and can’t do.

A recent survey by Quotezone.co.uk showed 90 percent of drivers had issues with potholes in their area – with 60 percent saying they or friends and family had suffered damage to their vehicles.

Potholes in the Bower area. How do you avoid driving over these? Picture: DGS
Potholes in the Bower area. How do you avoid driving over these? Picture: DGS

Many drivers are being forced to slow down or stop sharply to prevent unnecessary damage – others are having to drive round or swerve potholes in a bid to avoid costly repairs.

But the experts claim these actions could see drivers penalised, disqualified from driving or have between three and nine points added to their licence for careless or inconsiderate driving.

Drivers could be fined up to £2500 if their attempts to avoid potholes are seen as driving without due care and attention.

There are no clear answers as to whether avoiding a pothole could be viewed as an exception to the rules.

And with motorists being forced to make dangerous manoeuvres to avoid potholes, experts are calling on authorities to provide clarity.

Potholes at Scotscalder. Picture: DGS
Potholes at Scotscalder. Picture: DGS

Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk said: “With the cost-of-living crisis pushing insurance premiums up, costly damage to vehicles due to potholes is the last thing drivers need. We are calling for there to be more information on how drivers should tackle problematic potholes in their area.

“Pothole related damage to vehicles is becoming more expensive as parts, paint and repair costs all soar, meaning drivers are having to lose their no claims bonus to claim for repairs. It’s one of the key reasons that car insurance costs are on the rise, a surge in claims is escalating insurance premiums right across the UK.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more potholes across our roads, and they pose serious safety risks for all road users. With the current poor weather conditions and a lack of adequate funding, our roads are deteriorating, and many drivers are left frustrated with the never-ending issue.

A massive array of potholes in Keiss. Picture: DGS
A massive array of potholes in Keiss. Picture: DGS

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“As potholes around the country go unfilled for months, many drivers are unable to take their normal routes without needing to amend their driving to avoid hitting them, cheaper insufficient materials are reportedly being used to cut costs, meaning the repairs are often only a temporary solution.

“Driving over potholes can cause damaged suspension components, bent steering parts, damaged shock absorbers, tyre damage and even broken wheels.

“However, if you have an accident while swerving round a pothole, it is likely you who will be held criminally liable. This means you could be charged with a number of wrongdoings, from driving without due care and attention to even harsher offences.

“Perhaps it’s a case of temporary speed reductions in problematic areas or alternative route diversions to reduce the risk of incidents and stop roads from deteriorating further. This problem isn’t going away in the foreseeable future, so we need manageable solutions and practical information to protect all road users from harm and safeguard their finances.”

For savings on all sorts of breakdown and motoring insurance Quotezone can help: www.quotezone.co.uk/car-insurance

Drivers who experience damage from potholes can also contact the road authority in their area and appeal for compensation if they have evidence the damage caused is related to a pothole.

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