The RAC says its latest pothole figures are ‘a real cause for concern’, despite a ‘significant’ drop in the number of associated breakdowns between April and June.
The statistics show RAC patrols attended 1,766 pothole-related breakdowns in Q2 2020 – compared to 3,426 in the first quarter of the year.
However, with Government data showing motor traffic volumes were down by as much 60%, the RAC says it expected to see a ‘far bigger drop’ in the share of pothole-related breakdowns.
Pothole-related call-outs during Q2 2020 still made up 1.1% of all breakdowns attended by the RAC – the same proportion as were attended in the second quarter of 2019.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “On the surface, these statistics appear encouraging because they make it seem as though the quality of our roads hasn’t worsened, but when you consider how few vehicles were on the road, they are a real cause for concern.
“We would have hoped to have seen a far bigger drop in the share of pothole-related breakdowns than we would do normally at this time of year, but instead it was just the same as usual.”
The RAC Pothole Index – which is based on a quarterly rolling analysis of pothole-related breakdowns – suggests the overall standard of the roads improved very slightly in Q2 2020.
The index, which began at a base of 1.00 in 2006 when the RAC started recording data, reduced from 1.65 in Q1 to 1.59 in Q2 – and is also down from 2.04 in the same period last year.
Nicholas Lyes added: “Looking at our breakdown data in regard to pothole damage the long-term trend is clearly down which is good news for everyone who uses the roads.
“But we were very surprised by how many of these call-outs we dealt with during lockdown considering the vast majority of our work in this period was helping motorists with flat batteries at home as a result of vehicles being used so little.”
The RAC say a pothole-related breakdown is ‘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.