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Drivers beware: Pothole breakdowns rise by a fifth during wet July

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

There were 50,079 breakdowns related to pothole damage during July, a fifth more than at the same time last year, according to a motoring service.

The sixth wettest July ever on record was a driving factor in the increase of incidents, which rose from 41,790 in July 2022, as councils were unable to repair the roads while it was raining.

By the end of July 2023, the AA had attended 362,172 pothole-related incidents, making this year the third worst year for pothole breakdowns after seven months, behind 2017 (366,227) and 2018 (398,832).

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “July’s rainfall caused more headaches for drivers last month with tyres, suspensions and steering mechanisms all being damaged as the rain and puddles hid the potholes lurking underneath.

Councils under pressure to fix roads

He continued: “Councils would’ve been hoping for a dry summer so they could get as much repair work carried out before the real autumn and winter weather hit. They will now be under more pressure to get their planned works completed before the weather really turns against them.

“With 2023 looking to be one of the worst years on record for pothole damage, we need to see more investment in local roads maintenance funding. As well as the financial damage to vehicles, at this time of year we also see more cyclists and motorbike riders on the roads where the damage can sadly be fatal.”

Rise in fake insurance claims

A combination of more pothole breakdowns and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis has also contributed to a rise in fake insurance claims.

In June the public sector insurer, Zurich Municipal, said that extreme weather conditions in 2022 had seen a higher number of road defects which led to criminals falsely blaming potholes for damage that was already on their vehicles.

Throughout 2022, the insurer recorded 571 fraudulent claims made against councils, worth £16.2m.