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UK Drivers set for the worst ever year for pothole incidents

Written by: Matthew Browning
Drivers experienced the worst ever summer for pothole incidents with the AA predicting that 2023 could be the worst year ever for the issue.

The AA’s data from June to August showed there were 145,726 reported incidents and 48,994 in August alone.

Breakdowns connected to potholes were on the up too, with 13% more drivers suffering that fate compared to this time last year.

The inclement weather the nation endured played a big part in the increase, as councils were unable to conduct repair work, as well as the wet conditions hiding where potholes were. Wet weather also contributed to the fewest number of resurfaced roads for four years.

According to the AA, drivers travelling on the damaged roads would be blind to some of the holes and many would have dropped their vehicle into the hole, especially when unfamiliar with the route.

‘Continuous spell of rain’ blamed for pothole increase

Councils are now hoping for a dry spell in Autumn so the maintenance backlog can be addressed.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “During what felt like a continuous spell of rain throughout August, drivers faced the now familiar challenge of trying to spot potholes lurking beneath the surface of rainwater. Some driver’s attempts to avoid damage to tyres, suspensions and steering mechanisms appear to have been in vain as we witnessed another year-on-year increase in pothole-related incidents.

“Councils now have a very small window of time to get as much of their repair work carried out as possible before the real autumn and winter weather hits, meaning their road teams will need to work flat out to restore the roads before the weather really turns against them.

“2023 looks set to reach the podium of ‘Worst Year for Potholes’, but which colour medal remains to be seen. With this year’s running total of pothole-related breakdowns already at 411,168 compared to previous annual totals of 594,876 (2019) and 637,932 (2017), the current toll looks comfortable for a bronze at least. An awful autumn could see it make a dash for gold. That’s why, with the Autumn Statement due in November, drivers and local councils alike will be hoping for some more pothole funding.”

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