The RAC received more calls to pothole-related breakdowns during the second quarter of this year than it did during the same period in any year since 2015.

The organisation’s data showed there were a total of 4,091 callouts between April and June for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels – faults which it says are most likely to be directly attributed to poor quality road surfaces. 

This represented 1.8% of all breakdowns suffered by the RAC’s 2.1 million individual members, which while a reduction compared with the first three months of the year, when the figure was 2.3%, represents a slower fall than in 2017, when the figure fell from 2.7% to 1.6%.

The RAC also says its Pothole Index – based on a quarterly rolling analysis of pothole-related breakdowns – moved up from 2.63 in the first quarter of the year to 2.67, suggesting five successive quarters of worsening roads, although it remains well down on the peak of 3.5 recorded in 2010.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “We had obviously hoped the number of pothole-related breakdowns attended by our patrols would drop in the second quarter as the first three months of the year had seen the third highest first-quarter figure recorded since 2006.

“However, given the extreme weather towards the end of Q1, we perhaps should not be that surprised the Q2 figures are worse than normal.

“While the percentage of these callouts did drop in the second quarter of 2018, it did not reduce by as much as normally happens in this period as local authorities catch up with repairing the winter damage to our roads.

“From a driver’s point of view this can only mean that our roads are still in a poor state of repair after the damage caused by the Beast from the East and the generally harsh late winter conditions the country experienced.”

Bizley said councils had been working hard to repair roads, but despite further emergency funding from central government budgets were even more stretched than in previous years.

He said: “The overall quality of our roads should be getting better, not worse. Any pothole could at best cause expensive damage to a vehicle, motorbike or bicycle and at worst lead to a fatal accident, with motorcyclists and cyclists at particular risk.

“Every pothole capable of causing an accident or damage needs to be fixed quickly so it no longer represents a danger to road users. 

“Central government must now consider how we can develop a long-term plan to improve the condition of our local roads. We continue to urge the Department for Transport to work with the Treasury to ring-fence a proportion of fuel duty receipts over a sustained period to fund this.”