Pothole-related breakdowns rise by 24% in Q4

Remember a few years ago, when potholes were making the headlines and became a political issue? Several years of mild winters have meant that the damaged cause by decrepit road surfaces hasn’t been as bad as it was back then.

But the latest figures from the RAC suggest that the pothole damage may be on the rise again.

Country road with potholes

24% increase

The number of pothole-related breakdowns attended by RAC patrols rose by 24% during the final three months of 2016. A whopping 4,903 call-outs took place for potentially pothole-related callouts, up from 3,962 during the same period in 2015.

It’s the first fourth-quarter increase since 2013, according to the RAC, which published the analysis to mark National Pothole Day on 15 January 2016.

Typical examples of a pothole-related breakdown include damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels. And the bad news is that potholes tend to get worse in wet or cold weather. If the first quarter of this year brings a seasonal round of rain, snow and frost, things could get much worse says the RAC’s chief engineer, David Bizley:

Rain can be the catalyst for the formation of potholes, particularly in the winter when frosts are also common but despite the low rainfall the number of pothole faults attended by RAC in Q4 2016 is still higher than in the same period in the two previous years.

“If the first three months of 2017 prove to be both wet and cold, potholes are likely to appear at an unprecedented rate which would inevitably stretch local authority repair resources to their limit.”

Research for the RAC’s latest Report on Motoring found that the state and maintenance of local roads was the number-one concern identified by the 1,755 motorists surveyed, with 14% listing it as their top concern.

In addition, the report also found that half of motorists (51%) believe the state of the roads in their area worsened over the past 12 months, with the preponderance of potholes by far the main culprit. This compared to just 9% who said their local roads had in fact improved.

Do you know a pothole? Report it

The RAC has teamed up with the Street Repairs website to create the RAC Report Pothole app.

The app does exactly what you’d expect. Using your phone’s GPS functionality, it locates the pothole and delivers a report directly to the relevant local authority or highways agency. Photographs can also be uploaded with reports.

Reporting a pothole which is then left unrepaired by the responsible roads authority should aid subsequent claim for compensation lodged by a motorist who has suffered damage to their vehicles as a result of driving over it.

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