The RAC assisted over 10,000 drivers with pothole-related breakdowns between January and March this year – a 39% increase compared to the first three months of last year.
Vehicle issues such as broken suspensions, distorted wheels and damaged shock absorbers are most likely caused by potholes, says the RAC. This year, there were more call-outs related to poor road conditions than in any three-month period since the beginning of 2021.
Pothole-related breakdowns have also increased by more than 50% since the end of 2022, rising from 4,915 to 10,076. According to the RAC’s Pothole Index, a motorist is 1.6 times more likely to break down on the roads than they were 17 years ago.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams described the increased number of call-outs as ‘scandalous’. He said: “Drivers are telling us that the UK’s local roads are in a worse state than ever and it’s hard to disagree looking at some of the craters that litter so many of our carriageways.”
He added, based on the Asphalt Industry Alliance reporting, that £14bn would be needed to maintain UK roads to a ‘fit-for-purpose condition’. He stated: “It’s impossible to see a way back from where we are without the Government finally recognising there’s a problem and coming up with a new way to solve it. The extra pothole funding promised to councils just isn’t enough.
“A change in funding strategy is massively overdue, not least as the lion’s share of car tax paid to the DVLA by England’s drivers goes to England’s major roads, whereas we estimate the budget for local roads is only around a seventh of that – despite the fact there are seven times more miles of minor roads.”