Should You Swerve A Pothole?

Wed 5th May 2021

A leading motoring lawyer has called for clearer guidance on what drivers should do when encountering a pothole in the road to ensure that motorists don’t end up on the wrong side of the law.

Manchester based solicitor Nick Freeman, best known as Mr Loophole by the British press for his ability to get high profile clients off motoring offences, has pointed out that drivers are stuck between a ‘rock and a hard place’ when it comes to encountering potholes in the road.

Swerve to avoid missing a pothole and you will be liable if you cause an accident, but on the flipside if you damage your car by driving over one, an increasing number of local councils are claiming careless driving.

With thousands of miles of roads in the UK having dangerous potholes, Freeman has called on the government to clear up any ambiguity in the laws.

“Swerving to avoid a pothole won't afford you a defence in court if you have an accident,” the celebrity lawyer told the Daily Express.

“You will be criminally liable. And there’s a fair chance you’ll be charged with anything from driving without due care – to a more serious offence depending on the consequences.

Conversely, if you drive over a pothole and damage your car, the local authority will more than likely refute any civil claim for damages – arguing that the driver should have been more careful.

“So, the motorist is caught between a rock and a hard place.

“That's why the Government needs to give clear guidance - through the law - over what a motorist is supposed to do, so that the already beleaguered driver is exculpated and no longer responsible from a criminal or civil perspective.

“Put simply there should be a special defence to cater for the parlous state of our roads – which the motorist is not responsible for. ”

The call comes as local authorities are finding it harder than ever to fight the blight of holes in the road. Recent data published by the RAC showed that vehicles damaged by potholes had increased three-fold in the first quarter of 2021.