Roads in a state of dangerous disrepair are suddenly very topical.  The unusually harsh winter has rendered a large number of roads unsafe and this is going to present a huge challenge for a cash-strapped government at national and local level.  The law is very simple: highways authorities owe a statutory duty to maintain the roads in this country and keep them safe.  A local road in your area is more likely than not the responsibility of your local authority and if there is a gaping lunar crater that is likely to cause an accident, it is their job to deal with it.  Meanwhile back on the planet earth, the harsh reality is that your local authority does not possess a magic wand and has limited resources, so what can you do to make your point?
  • First, you should go to the top and write a strongly-worded missive to the Chief Executive, your local councillor and your MP.  All of this information will be readily available on the website of your local council but failing that, just telephone and ask for the relevant names.  Copy your letter in by name to the person responsible for highways so that he or she knows you are on the case.  You may well want to add some drama to your letter by sending in a photograph of your vehicle’s damaged wheel/tyre (if that has happened) or just the hole itself or if you are feeling cheeky, a lump of tarmac.  The latter will certainly grab some attention and that is what you will need to do to elevate your gripe to the top of the pile.
  • Pot holes are a serious subject and the recipient of your complaint will hopefully think through the consequences of ignoring it.  If you create a paper trail that puts the local authority on notice of a very real safety risk, they run a huge risk by ignoring your complaint since, in the event of a catastrophic, perhaps fatal, accident, they would be more exposed than ever to legal liability.  If you are not a seasoned complainer, think of your local pot holes as an ideal way to try out your skills by asserting your views in a forceful but very positive way.  You have nothing to lose.  Do it.