Potholes Are Driving Drivers Potty

The poor condition of Britain’s local roads is laid bare by new figures from the RAC which show its patrols went out to more than 8,100 pothole breakdowns between April and June 2023, the highest number in five years.

Since the start of 2023, the RAC has dealt with 18,250 breakdowns for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels – the call-outs which are most likely caused by defective road surfaces.

The 8,100 pothole-related breakdowns recorded in Q2 is the highest the RAC has since the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap plunged much of the UK into a deep freeze with heavy snowfall five years ago. The figures show that 27,250 breakdowns occurred in the 12 months up to 30 June 2023 where vehicles had been damaged by a pothole, compared to 22,800 over the same period in 2022 – that’ a massive 20% increase over last year  and equates to 4,550 more breakdowns.


RAC Pothole Index

The RAC Pothole Index, which tracks pothole call-outs since 2006 seasonally adjusted for weather, reveals drivers are now over 1.6 times more likely to break down due to the repeated wear caused by potholes than they were 17 years ago. This does not include punctures as other factors such as nails and screws may also be to blame. However, the number of punctured tyres RAC patrols went out to in the second quarter of 2023 (101,200) was 13% higher than the previous year (89,600), indicating that poor road surfaces may well have played a part.



A Freedom of Information request made by the RAC also reveals councils have forked out more than £11 million over the last four years to drivers who successfully claimed their vehicles had been damaged by potholes.


Picture: A pothole.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
31st August 2023


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