Pothole-related breakdowns up 63% in Q1 2017
16 May 2017
Author: Daniel Puddicombe
The RAC dealt with 63% more pothole-related breakdowns in the first quarter of 2017 than in the first three months of 2016.
In total, the breakdown company said it dealt with 6,500 jobs that were likely to be attributed to poor road surfaces, such as broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels.
The RAC claimed it is surprised by these results, as it expected to see a reduction in the number of pothole-related call-outs thanks to a mild winter in comparison to previous years.
Its finding suggests that road conditions are deteriorating; indeed, the breakdown giant said it "would only take one season of cold and wet weather to cause further damage, offsetting any recent improvements and making them worse than ever."
In Q1 2017, pothole-related call-outs accounted for 2.7% of all RAC jobs - the largest quarterly figure since records were logged in 2006, it added.
Figures from the 2016 RAC Report on Motoring suggests the state of local roads concerns motorists, with 14% of respondents saying it was their top issue of 2016, up from 10% in 2015, while 70% of drivers said that targeted improvements to rural roads should be a top-five priority for investment by Highways England and local councils.
"Our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor," said RAC chief engineer, David Bizley. "We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter."
He added: "As a nation we still have a long way to go to ensure the whole road network - not just our major roads which are enjoying one of the largest investment programmes in a generation - is really fit for purpose. Certainly anyone that has experienced a breakdown as a result of hitting a pothole will know just how frustrating that can be - not to say dangerous and expensive if damage to their vehicle is sustained."