My road is in poor condition, what are my rights?


When driving on UK roads, it’s not uncommon to come across poor conditions, often caused by wear and tear and adverse weather. If you live on a road that’s in a poor state of repair, then it can have a greater impact on your travel and vehicle.

But what rights do you have if deteriorating road conditions are likely to cause damage to you or your vehicle? We’ll explore the legalities around liability and take a look at the practical steps you can take when faced with such hazards.

Common road hazards

One of the most common road hazards are potholes with around six potholes per mile on the country’s roads. They can cause severe vehicle damage and even result in breakdowns. Weather conditions are often to blame with heavy rain and cold temperatures causing potholes to expand further. Cracks are also a road concern as these can lead to potholes if left unrepaired.

Potholes can be a major issue and, if a road features multiple large potholes, the best course of action is usually resurfacing which can be a costly and time-consuming task.

Poor construction, poor drainage and obstacles are also common road hazards with such risks made worse by high volumes of traffic and adverse weather. Road lighting should also be in good working condition and there should be signs warning of any hazards so road users can safely avoid them.

Who is responsible for the roads?

While main roads and motorways are the responsibility of National Highways, local council authorities are in charge of local road maintenance. Local authorities also maintain public paths and pavements.

Some residents live on private roads which, instead of being the responsibility of the council, should be maintained and repaired privately by the residents themselves. This could be either mean that the landowner is responsible or responsibility should be split equally between all homeowners on the street itself.

Reporting road hazards

If you discover an issue with a road, you should report it to the relevant council who has a duty of care to address the issue. Failure to maintain or repair the road can lead to accidents. If you suffer an accident or injury due to a road being in poor condition that a council has failed to repair, then you might be able to make a public accident claim.

Road users can claim compensation that can help cover the costs of repairs or loss of income should they be unable to work and earn a living due to the accident. Making a claim can also highlight major issues and failings and ensure that similar accidents don’t reoccur.


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