Pothole-related breakdowns rise despite mild weather

12.00 | 1 August 2017 | | 3 comments

Image: RAC

New figures from the RAC show its patrols attended 31% more pothole-related breakdowns in the second quarter of 2017 than they did over the same period in 2016.

In a press release issued today (1 August), the RAC reveals it dealt with more than 3,500 breakdowns that were likely to be attributable to poor road surfaces – such as broken suspension springs or damaged shock absorbers – between April and June 2017.

The breakdown organisation has labelled the figures as ‘unwelcome’, adding that it was expecting to see a reduction in the number of pothole-related breakdowns when taking into consideration the mild weather experienced in 2017.

Earlier this year the RAC described the condition of local roads as ‘on a knife-edge’, after it received more than 6,500 pothole-related call-outs between January and March 2017 – a year-on-year rise of 63%.

The RAC Pothole Index, a 12-month rolling average of pothole-related breakdowns, also indicates a worsening picture after five successive quarters of improvement.

As of Q2 2017, the index stands at 2.2, having begun at a base of 1.0 in 2006. This is an increase on the first quarter of the year when it stood at 2.08 – the lowest figure recorded since Q4 2008 – and the first increase since the beginning of 2016.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “After a period of steady improvement, it is disappointing to see an unwelcome rise in the number of pothole-related breakdowns.

“The most worrying aspect is the fact that this year’s weather has been so much milder and drier than in the equivalent six months last year and, for this reason, we should have expected the numbers for the second quarter to be lower.

“We fear it would only take a spell of very cold or wet weather for the improvements of the last year or two to evaporate and for the nation to find itself in a situation when we would once again be seeking emergency funding from Government to address the worst affected roads.”

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Condition of local roads ‘on a knife-edge’ – RAC
15 May 2017



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    From my understanding it was reported sometime ago that it would take about £13 billion to repair all the road surfaces that would be required to be repaired and something like 10 years in which to do just that. These are probabloy not new potholes but existing ones that drivers fail to see.

    This is probaboly due to tailgating. If a driver around town were to just keep the distance of one lamp post apart, then if they were paying attention then they should have more than sufficient time and space in which to avoid a pothole. The one that the driver in front has just hit. Or not as the case may be.

    Some would say its not the faut of the authorities or indeed of the pothole itself but of poor driving and I am likely to agree with that. Whenever I am out and about with a good following on distance its amazing just what you can avoid on the roadways.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    Interestingly in 1885/6 the two national cycle clubs, the Cyclist’s Touring club (CTC) and the National Cyclist’s Union (NCU) joined forces to create the Roads Improvement Association which prepared and circulated pamphlets on how to improve and maintain roads. The Association remained active until just after the second world war. Perhaps it is time to reintroduce this type pf pressure group for the safety of all road users?

    Peter City of Westminster
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    As a motorcyclist, the increasing number of potholes found on all roads is of concern to a motorcyclist’s safety. Along with the increase in potholes is the associated repairs and over banding that presents a risk to motorcyclists in the wet.

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