In total, more than 200,000 incidents occurred last year


According to data from Highways England, breakdowns on motorways in England have reached a five-year high, with more than 200,000 incidents occurring last year.

The level of breakdowns increased by 15% between 2017/18 and 2018/19, with the number of reported incidents increasing to 224,225.

This sudden jump was the biggest rise in breakdown incidents over the past five years as previous results showed not much movement.

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A car broken down on the M1 south of Junction 27. © Copyright Trevor Rickard and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Between 2014/2015 and 2016/17, breakdown incidents wavered by just a few thousand before tellingly jumping by nearly 10,000 in 2017/18.

The sudden rise in figures for 2018/19 was due to an excessive breakdown rate in July and August, with monthly incidents jumping to more than 20,000 for the first time in five years.

A huge increase in breakdowns was also noticed in April and May – more than 18,000 compared to previous yearly figures of 14,932 and 16,510.

There was also a noticeable increase in breakdowns during the winter months compared to previous figures. In December, breakdowns were up 1,000 compared to 2017/18 figures and nearly 4,000 higher than the 2016/17 numbers when the lowest figures were recorded.

According to the data, once again the M1 was the most popular road for breakdowns in England, with 32,152 incidents recorded. This too is a five-year high figure for the road and the first time it’s climbed over 30,000 over the past five years.

Highways Englands’ latest figures are a 13% increase compared to the previous year and a startling rise when compared with the 25,738 recorded incidents between 2015 and 2016.

In total, the M1 has seen 139,394 breakdowns during the past five years, making up 17% of all breakdowns across motorways in England.

The M6 was in second place for suffering the most breakdown incidents last year on 29,428, followed by the M25 with 27,941 reported breakdown incidents.

“When looking at the highest frequency of incidents it is important to look at the context in terms of road length and traffic flow,” said a spokesperson for highways England, adding: “Unsurprisingly, the top three roads with the highest number of breakdowns also appear in the top three when looking at traffic flow rates.”

Highways England suggest following research, that a quarter of all issues are caused by tyre problems, urging drivers carry out quick checks on their tyres before setting off on a journey – check the tyre tread depth and the pressure regularly.



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