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New data from RAC shows a 37 percent year-on-year rise in pothole-related breakdowns.

The motoring organisation said that in the first three months of 2021, their patrols were called to help 4,694 drivers who had most likely broken down from hitting a pothole. This equates to 52 drivers per day, despite the national lockdown in place at the time.

The RAC stated that this was a three-fold increase in breakdowns, too, when compared to the last quarter of 2020. They claimed it was “the largest rise between quarters the RAC has ever seen”.

Some typical indicators of a pothole-related breakdown are broken suspension springs, distorted wheels and damaged shock absorbers. All of these issues can result in costly repairs for motorists who encounter a pothole.

Nicholas Lyes, Head of Roads Policy at RAC, said: “In many cases, the condition of many roads is now in a desperate state. Many drivers are finding themselves having to use roads that in places better resemble the surface of the Moon.

“The quieter roads brought about by national lockdowns could have been an ideal time for councils to start to fix problem road surfaces, ready for the arrival of more traffic as restrictions are eased. Sadly, our data suggests this may not have been the case and may also suggest many councils are still simply patching up potholes rather than fixing them properly.”

The company is urging the Government to acknowledge the state of the country’s roads, and to take action to tackle the problem. 

They propose that while immediate funding goes some way towards filling potholes, it is not a long term solution for dealing with underlying surface issues. Instead, local authorities must plan and carry out routine maintenance.

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