Harsh winter leads to ‘one of the worst quarters’ for pothole breakdowns

08.14 | 19 April | | 1 comment

The RAC says motorists are still suffering the effects of the harsh winter weather after revealing its patrols attended more than 5,500 pothole-related breakdowns between January and March.

The figure includes breakdowns ‘likely to be attributed to damage caused by potholes and poor quality road surfaces’ – such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels.

At 2.3%, the percentage of total RAC breakdowns caused by potholes in Q1 2018 was the third highest since records began in 2006, but represents a marginal 0.1% fall compared with Q1 2017.

Despite the slight decline, the RAC ‘Pothole Index’ – a 12-month rolling average of pothole-related breakdowns – worsened slightly in Q1 2018, for a fourth successive quarter.

As of Q1 2018, the index stands at 2.63, having begun at a base of 1.0 in 2006; in Q1 2017 it stood at 2.08.

The RAC says that while the volume of pothole breakdowns may not have been as high as might have been expected considering the severity of the cold weather, it expects the second quarter of the year to be a better indicator of the true state of the country’s roads.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “Few would disagree that the harsh cold weather experienced over the last three months has led to a further deterioration of road surfaces.

“While RAC patrols saw the third highest quarterly share of pothole-related breakdowns in the first three months of 2018 the figure was not as high as we had been expecting, probably due the fact that the weather hit relatively late in the quarter.

“For this reason we feel we are likely to see more vehicles suffering pothole damage in the second quarter of 2018 compared with recent years.

“We will be monitoring the situation very closely to see what effect the harsh winter weather has had. If the index doesn’t reduce or, worse still, continues to increase then this will be a very strong indication that our roads are still in a dire state of repair.”


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    Where I live in the Fylde of Lancashire we did not have any harsh winter this year and still the roads are just as bad as other places that had high snow drifts. The weather can exacerbate a problem with regards to the structure of our roads but it is not the cause. The cause is the use on them by more vehicles and indeed more heavy vehicles that causes the cracks to the tarmac’s surface and that leads to water infiltration and its breaking up. The end result is a pot hole or the widespread destruction of the roads upper surface layer and the ensuing but ever present debris that lays on the road and creates its own danger.


    Bob Craven
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