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The Alcatraz, Slalom and Sniper - bizarre names given to UK pothole types that'll wreck your car

HAVE you spotted a sniper down your street? Or taken a drip to Alcatraz recently? Turns out you don’t have to star in a Hollywood movie to do either – just take a look at the UK’s…


HAVE you spotted a sniper down your street? Or taken a drip to Alcatraz recently?

Turns out you don't have to star in a Hollywood movie to do either - just take a look at the UK's crumbling roads.

Alamy

Dangerous potholes blight the UK's roads

The RAC has revealed the bizarre names given to the potholes on Britain's streets to mark National Pothole Day - yes March 8 isn't just International Women's Day.

And with melting ice and snow causing surfaces to crumble even more, you might find yourself doing your own Winter Olympics-style slalom on your daily commute.

The shapes and sizes of the Great British Potholes have been revealed in a tongue-in-cheek take on what is actually a growing problem.

Potholes are responsible for hundreds of deaths and accidents for drivers and cyclists each year.

They also wreck your motor with damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels a common outcome of a run-in with a pothole - costing Brits around £100milion a year in repairs.

And the recent Siberian blast will cause "as many potholes as daffodils" to open up this Spring, according to the RAC.

The trouble is, potholes now need to be bigger than ever before a council will even inspect it - let alone fill it in.

Potholes that are 40mm or below don't even qualify for investigation under government guidelines introduced in October 2016.

HOW TO CLAIM FOR POTHOLE DAMAGE

Pothole damage costs UK motorists £730million a year - an average of £110 each but you might not always have to foot the bill.

Compensation from the council or Highways England is possible although it's not straightforward.

First, you should ensure you take notes and photos at the scene and record the exact damage plus the size and shape of the pothole along with any contact details of witnesses.

You'll most likely need to get the damage repaired immediately but if you can, ring around for several quotes so you can provide evidence during a claim that you've searched for the best price.

You should also flag up the pothole via the online service.

Then, to submit your claim, write a letter to the council or Highways England (if it's an A-road or motorway) outlining where the damage was caused, the extent of it and that you're holding them liable.

You'll get a response, often within a couple of weeks and likely a refusal to pay under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 - a one-size-fits-all defence that says all reasonable steps to maintain the road were taken, and all potholes were dealt with in a timely manner.

Once this happens, you'll need to determine if the council has fulfilled the Section 58 obligations by asking questions about the scheduling and quality of inspections and repairs on the road.

If you believe you have a case write again outlining your findings. The council will either pay up or leave you with the choice of going to small claims court.

Small claims court is fairly cheap and easy but you need to decide if it'll really offset the cost of the repairs and time invested.

It states councils aren't obliged to send an inspector unless it gets bigger than this size - the equivalent of two 20p pieces stacked on top of each other.

But according the Local Government Association, councils fill a pothole once every 19 seconds.

It's still not enough, though, as there's a £12billion backlog on road surface repairs across the UK.

Simon Williams, from the RAC, said: "Siberian weather was the last thing our roads needed as the freezing conditions wreak havoc with any road surface that is in bad repair.

"Potholes are without doubt a menace for drivers, and indeed for all road users, as they create a totally unnecessary road safety danger as well as costing motorists thousands of pounds in expensive repairs to their vehicles."

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