Freezing weather conditions in February & March to blame for the increase


The number of breakdowns related to potholes have doubled in the first quarter of 2018, confirms analysis of breakdown data.

Over the last six months, the state of roads in the UK have caused the number of cars breaking down following an incident involving a pothole to double, increasing from 1.2% in the last quarter of 2017 to 2.3% in the first quarter of 2018.

The RAC obtained the figures after looking at their callouts and discovered that 5,540 motorists broke down during the first quarter of this year after their cars had been damaged more than likely because of hitting a pothole – the figure stood at 2,841 in the final quarter of 2017.

Freezing weather conditions in February & March to blame for the increase

Breakdowns related to potholes double in first quarter of 2018 – an unusual pothole warning in the road © Copyright Rob Newman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Some of the faults that led to a callout included damaged shock absorbers, broken alloy wheels and snapped suspension springs.

January to March 2018 saw the third-highest percentage of pothole-related breakdowns on record and the RAC blames the freezing cold weather conditions here in the UK during February and March for the increase.

“Anecdotally, few would disagree that the harsh cold weather experienced over the last three months has led to a further deterioration of road surfaces,” said the RAC’s chief engineer, David Bizley.

According to Mr Bizley, the number of pothole-related breakdowns during the first quarter of 2018 were “not as high as we had been expecting” and predicts that the second quarter of this year the RAC is “likely to see more vehicles suffering pothole damage compared with recent years.”

The Government has recently announced a £100 million advance for the pothole action fund, however many believe that the extra money will come too late for some, as a number of local councils have already had to pay out £43 million over the last five years in compensation relating to drivers hitting potholes and making a claim.

“We know that many local authorities will be even more stretched in the new financial year and therefore having to deal with the effects of very poor weather in February and March will be a very unwelcome hit on their maintenance budgets for the next 12 months,” commented Mr Bizley regarding the swing in road-funding.


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