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The RAC has reported a record-breaking number of pothole-related breakdowns in any third quarter since the beginning of their records in 2006.

Between July and September of this year, the automotive company received 5,978 call-outs related to potholes. The RAC reported these incidents are ‘most likely to be caused by wear and tear from defective road surfaces, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels’.

This is a 46% increase during the same time frame in 2022, which saw 4,085 pothole-related problems. The roadside assistance teams also received 580 more incidents than the previous third quarter record breaker during 2013, which reached 5,398.

The current record for the highest number of pothole call-outs is still held by the first quarter of 2021, during which a staggering 14,827 drivers broke down due to road surface issues. Simon Williams, head of policy at the RAC, says that the promised funding of £8.3bn for local highways authorities should help with planning long-term road maintenance work. 

Williams says: “We have long argued that it’s not just a question of filling potholes, it’s about getting the roads in the worst condition resurfaced. Then, it’s vital that more councils start to make greater use of surface treatments which can cost-effectively extend the lives of these roads.

“Our analysis of government data shows that many are no longer surface dressing their roads, which partly explains why so many are now peppered with potholes. Our message to the government is to get councils using surface dressing again as this helps seal roads, which prevents water getting in, cracking the asphalt when the temperature drops to freezing.

“If this approach is adopted, we believe we will eventually see lasting benefits and a welcome end to the pothole plague drivers have had to endure for far too many years.”

Councillor Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, states that councils opt to invest in more resilient and cost-effective road resurfacing, rather than fixing potholes.

He said: “The recently announced £8.3bn additional funding for roads maintenance should help to bring more of our local road network up to scratch, and help deal with the £14bn backlog of repairs. We await to see more details of the funding plan.”

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