The ‘poor state’ of local roads is the UK’s most widespread motoring concern in 2020, according to a new survey.
Some 38% of the 3,068 drivers surveyed for the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – the equivalent of 15.2m people – listed the condition and maintenance of local roads as a concern, up from 33% in 2019.
This puts it ahead of other issues such as drivers using handheld phones (32%), the poor standard of other motorists’ driving (27%) and the aggressive behaviour of other drivers (26%).
The survey also highlights that 52% of drivers believe the condition of local roads have deteriorated over the last 12 months – compared to just 6% who believe they have improved.
The RAC says the findings correlate with its own data, which shows there were 1,871 call outs during the third quarter of 2020 for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels – breakdowns that are ‘most likely to have been caused by poor road surfaces’.
This is the highest third-quarter percentage of all RAC breakdowns seen since 2015.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “These findings are a big concern given that last year’s relatively mild winter should not, in normal circumstances, have led to a further decline in road surface quality.
“Usually, RAC patrols see the fewest number of pothole-related breakdowns in the third quarter which coincides with the summer, with volumes having dropped steadily from the high point recorded in the first three months of the year.
“This normally correlates with councils carrying out work to repair potholes in early spring that have appeared over the winter.
“But, faced with the early stages of the pandemic, local authorities might not have been able to keep up their planned maintenance programmes, possibly due to staffing issues, and local roads suffered as a consequence.
“This also calls into question just how much progress has actually been made in fixing the 11 million ‘nuisance’ potholes cited by transport secretary Grant Shapps in May.”