The number of vehicles breaking down after hitting a pothole has jumped dramatically, according to the RAC.

The motoring organisation's patrols attended 11% more breakdowns thought to be caused by potholes in the last three months of 2017 than during the same period in 2016.

A total of 2,830 RAC individual member breakdowns were logged between October and December 2017 where vehicles had broken down due to damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels, which the RAC said were likely due to poor-quality road surfaces.

This number is up from 2,547 in the same period in 2016.

More rainfall and freezing temperatures at the end of last year are likely to be partially to blame for damaging road surfaces.

See our Pothole Claims guide for more information.

My motor has been damaged by a pothole – how do I claim?

If your vehicle is damaged by a pothole and the authority responsible for maintaining the road failed to do so properly, it is possible to successfully claim for repairs in full.

If you need to make a claim, follow these steps:

  1. Take photos at the scene – According to many councils, to count as a pothole, a hole must be at least 40mm deep. If the one you hit wasn't that deep you can still claim, but it could be tougher.
  2. Take notes and gather evidence – If safe to do so, take photos at the scene, including close-up shots, road signs, and the pothole's position in the road. Also make a note of its position and if anyone saw you hit it, see if they will give you a written statement for evidence.
  3. Keep evidence of the specific damage to your vehicle – Keep copies of your bills, and ask the mechanic who fixes your car to provide written evidence that the damage was likely caused by a pothole. 

For full information, see Pothole Claims: How to claim.

What does the RAC say?

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "For the majority of drivers, these latest statistics are likely to be met with concern.

"After several years in which the surface quality of our roads appeared to be improving, the latest analysis of RAC breakdown data suggests that for the third successive quarter we have gone backwards.

"We were obviously grateful that the Chancellor announced additional funds for fixing potholes in the Autumn Budget but if we get more ice and snow or further heavy rainfall than normal in the next couple of months, there is a risk of further deterioration of road surfaces – and even more potholes appearing in the areas worst affected by the weather."

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