Hitting a pothole in your car is frustrating at the best of times, but if it causes you to break down and require roadside assistance, it can be even more frustrating. During October, November, and December 2022, the RAC roadside patrols were called out to more than 23% more pothole-related breakdowns than in previous months. In those three months, they attended around 20 breakdowns each day to vehicles that had damaged their wheels, broken suspension springs or damaged shock absorbers from hitting potholes. In the previous three months, this had been around 16 calls per day, around 1462 cases in total. This new record figure is the highest since 2019.
National Pothole Day
The 16th of January is considered National Pothole Day, and these new figures were released to coincide with the event. One of the problems is the changeable weather that has flipped from incredibly heavy rain and then subzero temperatures and back again. When it rains, the water gets into any small cracks in the road surface, and this then expands as the temperature is plummet and everything freezes. It has the effect of crumbling the road and creating potholes.
Worse in Rural Areas
Over 86% of drivers have stated that they regularly have to deliberately avoid potholes by steering around them. In rural areas, this rises to 90% as these roads are often under-maintained. In urban areas, it equates to around 81% of drivers. When asked to rate the repairs of potholes in their local area, 55% reported that it was poor or very poor service this means that a lot of potholes are just simply being ignored.
The head of road policy at the RAC, Nicholas Lyes, explained that the combination of heavy rain and freezing temperatures in December gave the coldest start to winter in over 12 years, and this is the perfect recipe for disaster when it comes to potholes. The Association is concerned that come spring, the pothole issue will have continued to get worse, which makes travelling a bit of a headache. Hitting a pothole can also be incredibly expensive if it damages your car, which is not ideal as we are in a cost-of-living crisis. Cyclists and motorbikes on two wheels are often seriously injured if they accidentally hit a pothole.
Repairs Not Completed Properly
He also expressed concerns that local councils are not correctly filling in potholes. In many cases, this is because funds are low, and a patch job is attempted that very often does not work. The RAC considers the situation quite absurd. It is such a basic problem, and yet as a country, they feel we are not managing to get on top of the situation. The state of the roads continues to be one of the biggest frustrations cited by motorists, so it seems that more funding is needed to try and recover the state of the nation's roads, making it safe for drivers of all vehicles.