February 18, 2016
Spike in pothole-related breakdowns highlights issue of ageing road network

The blight of potholes in old Blighty has led to a spike in the number of related breakdowns, according to a major breakdown provider.

The RAC attended 25,487 pothole-related incidents in 2015 in the UK – a 24 per cent rise on the 2014 figure and proof our roads really are getting much worse.

Those who live in south-east England saw the biggest increase, with a total of 2,686 callouts and an increase of 62 per cent on the previous year. Meanwhile those in East Anglia put up with the highest number of callouts, with a grand total of 4,547 drivers affected.

It said damaged shock absorbers, wheels and suspension were common faults, adding that suspension spring problems saw the sharpest increase (42 per cent) in callouts compared to 2014.

The RAC is urging the government to ‘redouble its efforts to improve the nation’s road surfaces’, even though more than £6 billion has already been pledged. Local authorities estimate a total repair of the UK road network would cost £12.93 billion.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Potholes can wreak havoc with vehicles and are therefore understandably hated by motorists.”

He added: “It is very worrying that our patrols have dealt with more pothole-related breakdowns in 2015 than they did the year before because we did not experience a particularly cold winter in either year.”

Motorists whose cars are damaged by potholes can claim for compensation although this includes taking a picture of the offending crater, complaining to a website and submitting a Freedom of Information request to your local council to find out how the road is inspected and maintained.

The RAC, which released the figures on National Pothole Day (yes there’s a date to celebrate damaged roads), created an app and website that allows drivers to report especially severe potholes in the hope they get fixed and to warn other drivers.

Based on current spending, rubbish roads are here to stay. But there is hope if the government invests in a few of those ‘pothole killers’.