Poor road maintenance is UK drivers' biggest concern, RAC reports
14 December 2020
Author: Sean Keywood
The poor condition of local roads is the most widespread motoring concern among UK drivers, according to the RAC.
The motoring organisation says research for its annual Report on Motoring found 38% of drivers named road condition and maintenance as a concern.
That was ahead of issues such as other drivers using handheld phones (32%), the poor standard of other motorists' driving (27%), and aggressive behaviour by other drivers (26%).
The research found that 52% of drivers thought local roads had deteriorated during the previous 12 months, compared with 49% who thought this in 2019.
Only 6% of drivers thought the condition of local roads had improved, compared with 11% a year ago.
The RAC says this is supported by its own breakdown data, which showed a high proportion of callouts in the third quarter of 2020 for issues likely to be pothole-related, such as damaged suspension and distorted wheels.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: "These findings are a big concern given that last year's relatively mild winter should not, in normal circumstances, have led to a further decline in road surface quality.
"Usually, RAC patrols see the fewest number of pothole-related breakdowns in the third quarter which coincides with the summer, with volumes having dropped steadily from the high point recorded in the first three months of the year. This normally correlates with councils carrying out work to repair potholes in early spring that have appeared over the winter.
"But, faced with the early stages of the pandemic, local authorities might not have been able to keep up their planned maintenance programmes, possibly due to staffing issues, and local roads suffered as a consequence. This also calls into question just how much progress has actually been made in fixing the 11 million 'nuisance' potholes cited by transport secretary Grant Shapps in May.
"On the flipside, with less traffic, there was perhaps a far better opportunity for councils to fix the roads than in previous years, so we were pleased to see that several local authorities did just that."