2016's 10 worst roads: how to claim compensation for pothole damage

Published by Rachel Lacey on 16 December 2016.
Last updated on 16 December 2016

Pothole road

As winter progresses and driving conditions look set to become more treacherous, new research reveals England’s worst roads to drive on.

Using freedom of information (FOI) requests, Car Parts 4 Less, accessed council data to find out which roads drivers in England complained about most.

Drivers in the North West are the most frustrated, with Cottage Lane in Lancashire receiving the largest number of complaints, followed by Liverpool Road (A57) in Salford and Chester Road in Cheshire.

Topsham Road in Exeter (Devon) came in fourth, followed by the Bingley Relief Road (A650) in Bradford.

Lancashire Council had £120,445,000 to spend on road maintenance in 2015/16 but concentrated its efforts on Chapel Lane, despite receiving the most complaints about Cottage Lane.


Each year potholes cost drivers in the UK close to £684 million in car repairs with one claim made every 17 minutes, according to the AA. Car Parts 4 Less says that British roads are in fact so bumpy that Japanese car maker Honda had to build a four mile testing track that mimicked Britain’s pot hole ridden roads to ensure its cars could handle the terrain.

All this is in spite of the government spending a whopping £4.6 billion on road maintenance in 2014/15 – more than it had done for the four previous years.

Claim for pothole damage

However, if your car is damaged you can claim for compensation from your local council.

Here are the AA’s tips for claiming pothole compensation

  • After you have driven over a pothole, stop as soon as it is safe to do so and check for damage.
  • Damage may not be evident straightaway – watch for vibrations, the steering wheel not centring properly or the car pulling to one side.
  • Take a photo of the pothole (including a familiar object, such as a shoe or drinks, to indicate scale) and record the town, road name and exact location of the pothole.
  • Report the pothole to your local council so it can arrange repairs. For motorways and A roads report damage to Highways UK.
  • Get your car repaired. Get quotes and keep all receipts and invoices.
  • Write to the council responsible for maintaining the road. Send all the paperwork relating to your repair.
  • The council should pay your claim, but it cannot be held responsible for potholes it is not aware of – for example that have not previously been reported or picked up during checks.
  • If your claim is rejected, ask to see the council’s road inspection reports and attempt to reclaim if you feel you have been treated unfairly.
  • If the damage was costly talk to your insurance company or seek legal advice.


The 10 worst roads in England

Road # Of Complaints Council Region
Cottage Lane 271 Lancashire North West
Liverpool Road (A57) 188 Salford North West
Chester Road 162 Cheshire East UA North West
Topsham Road, Exeter 136 Devon South West
Bingley Relief Road (A650) 115 Bradford North East
Dunstable Road 96 Luton UA South East
Dividy Road 96 Stoke-on-Trent UA Midlands
Hills Road 91 Cambridgeshire South East
Stratford Road 89 Solihull Midlands
Garratt Lane 88 Wandsworth Londo


Which councils spent the most on road maintenance over the last 12 months?

Council Road Amount spent on maintenance
Devon A380 Besigheim Way £3,002,756.44
West Berkshire UA A339 Newbury £1,659,000.00
Bolton Colliers Row £815,000.00
Redbridge A118 High Road £809,316.84
Darlington UA Staindrop Road £638,149.00


More About

Leave a comment

Regarding pothole Topsham

Regarding pothole Topsham road Exeter.

In January this year I drove through a pothole on the Topsham Road Exeter (highlighted in your report as the road with fourth highest number of complaints)

Devon County Council stipulate in their Highways manual that to make a claim for damage the pothole must meet 3 criteria.

My claim to DCC for damage to my vehicle was rejected.

DCC introduced a fourth criteria that does not exist. They rejected my claim on this bogus fourth criteria.

DCC say if I want to pursue this I need to go to law; smalls claims court.!

I would be interested to hear of any comments.

Thank you.