Why Are Potholes Dangerous? 

Why Are Potholes Dangerous? 

For many, potholes are just a minor annoyance. However, these craters in the road could actually be causing more damage to vehicles than first thought – not to mention, risk of injury resulting from potential accidents. In this article, we investigate what causes potholes, why potholes are dangerous, and who is responsible for their upkeep and maintenance. 

What Causes Potholes?

Potholes are sunken areas of tarmac or other surfaces which look like craters, dents or dips in the road. Like anything, road surfacing will deteriorate over time, but a few factors accelerate this process and cause the formation of potholes. This includes wear-and-tear from traffic, but also exposure to weather factors. When water permeates underneath the road surface, it can freeze and melt, causing expansion and contraction due to these temperature changes, resulting in surface damage. 

What Are the Dangers of Potholes?

Pay attention to the condition of your car and how it’s handling as spotting signs of pothole damage early on can nip them in the bud sooner rather than later.

  • Damaged suspension & shock absorbers: When driving over potholes, it may not feel like any major damage is being inflicted, but potholes are notorious for causing gradual, hidden damage. For example, the vibration can damage suspension springs and shock absorbers, along with causing a whole host of other issues to the underbelly or body of a car. These issues may only become apparent over time. 
  • Knocked exhausts: If your vehicle exhaust hangs low, then it’s more likely to be knocked by potholes. This could cause scrapes, dents and holes to form in your exhaust after a while. 
  • Impairing wheels: Shuddering and rumbling our way over potholes on our daily commute can eventually result in tyre deflation, tyre damage, bent wheel rims, and may even knock our wheels out of alignment. The latter can impact how evenly your tyres wear which may result in you having to repair your tyres more frequently.   
  • Can cause road accidents: Whether a car is swerving to avoid them, or a pothole causes our car to veer slightly, poor-quality road surfacing results in hundreds of road accidents every year. Cyclists and motorcyclists are especially vulnerable, and are more likely to suffer serious injury or fatality.

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Who Is Responsible for Fixing Potholes?

The person/s responsible for the upkeep of our roads and surfaces depends on the type of road.

For example, major roads and motorways fall in the remit of Highways England and associated bodies for Scotland and Wales. More minor roads are the responsibility of local councils.

However, potholes on private property, for example businesses or private premises, are the responsibility of owners and managers to upkeep for the safety of their staff and visitors. Damage or accidents as a result of poorly maintained grounds, car parks or private roads may result in legal action towards the owner. 

We are also partly responsible as citizens. It’s always important to be vigilant of potholes, and always stick to the speed limit – if you notice any major ones, it’s worth reporting it to your council. If the pothole is located on a property you manage, it’s wise to get it fixed as soon as you can. 


If you’re searching for pothole repair anywhere in the UK, the team at Landmark Road Lining can help. Our NVQ-qualified team are available 24/7 to help businesses look after their road surfacing, offering both temporary and permanent solutions for potholes. 

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