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Pothole-related breakdowns soar this winter

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

The RAC attended an average of 20 pothole-related breakdowns a day in the last three months of the year.

The motoring group said it attended nearly a quarter more breakdowns where potholes were likely to be the cause of an incident between October and December 2022 than in the previous three months.

In fact, it racked up more than 1,800 rescues for faults such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

This was up from 16 a day (1,462) in the previous quarter and the RAC said this was the highest number of pothole-related breakdowns seen in the fourth quarter of the year since 2019.

The figures were released on National Pothole Day (Sunday 15 January), with the RAC saying the threat is “very real” for drivers given the heavy rain before and after December’s sub-zero temperatures.

It said these are “perfect conditions” for creating potholes, as water makes its way into cracks which then expand when they freeze, causing the road surface to crumble.

Separate research from the group found that 86% of drivers have had to deliberately steer to avoid a pothole.

More than half (55%) also rated pothole repairs in their area as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

‘Plagued by potholes’

RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: “We fear that by the Spring, drivers will be plagued by a plethora of potholes across the country’s roads which makes journeys uncomfortable and frustrating or, worse still, could lead to very expensive garage repair bills – the last thing anyone wants in a cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s also important to remember that potholes are so much more than just an annoyance, they are a true road safety danger, especially for those on two wheels as they represent a huge risk to their personal safety.”

Lyes added that it’s “frankly absurd” that as a country, “we seem unable to get on top of such an age-old problem when roads play such an important role in people’s everyday lives”.

He said: “Councils are crying out for more funding to do a proper job in getting their roads up to a decent standard. With drivers still rating the ongoing poor state of the roads as one of their biggest motoring frustrations, they can only hope that 2023 is the year when the Government finally sits up, takes notice of Britain’s perpetual problem with potholes and comes up with a better way to solve it.”