The risk of breaking down because of a pothole has doubled in 13 years


Drivers in the UK are now twice as likely to break down after hitting a pothole, as the risk of breaking down because of a pothole in the road has doubled in 13 years.

Motorists today are around 2.5 times more likely to suffer a breakdown after hitting a pothole than 13 years ago.

Last year, the RAC were called out to 13,093 breakdowns linked to road surfaces in poor condition. This means that pothole damage was the cause in 1.4% of all RAC call-outs in 2018 and whilst this figure is in fact lower than the previous year’s 1.5%, it’s still fairly close to the all-time high of 1.6% from 2015.

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Motorists in the UK voice biggest concern over potholes found on local roads. © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Furthermore, the number of breakdowns related to potholes, causing damage to cars such as broken suspension springs, distorted wheels and damaged shock absorbers, attended by the RAC over the last three months of 2018 was at 1,714, equating to 0.8% of the 217,966 breakdowns dealt with during that quarter.

However, according to the RAC’s Pothole Index which acts as a long-term indicator of the condition of UK roads, these figures show a third successive quarterly fall, which could provide some kind of hope for drivers in the UK.

In the RAC’s 2018 Report on Motoring, the bad condition of local roads was found to be the biggest cause for concern amongst motorists – an alarming 42% of the 1,808 respondents claimed it was one of their top four concerns, this was just 10% in 2017.

In addition, 66% said they believed the condition of local roads had worsened over the past 12 months, compared to 50% the previous year.

Furthermore, following a Freedom of Information request by the RAC sent to 212 councils in England, Scotland and Wales, it was discovered that 512,270 potholes were reported as needing a repair in 2017 to 161 local authorities – a whopping 44% increase compared to two years previous.

According to Simon Williams, spokesperson for RAC Breakdown, these figures showed a “slightly more encouraging picture” of the quality of roads in the UK, however he did add that we are “far from having the beautifully smooth roads that motorists would like”.


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