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Pothole breakdowns

Pothole breakdowns double as effects of winter storms bite


Analysis of breakdown data finds the number of pothole-related breakdowns doubled in the first quarter of 2018

Britain’s ravaged roads have caused the number of cars breaking down after a pothole impact to double over the last six months.

Analysis of breakdown data found the proportion of cars breaking down following a pothole impact rose from 1.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2017 to 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

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The figures, obtained by the RAC after analysing its callouts, found 5,540 drivers broke down in the first quarter of 2018 after their cars sustained damage likely to be attributed to pothole strikes, up from 2,841 in the final quarter of 2017. Broken alloy wheels, damaged shock absorbers and snapped suspension springs were among the faults that prompted callouts.

The first three months of 2018 saw the third-highest proportion of pothole-related breakdowns on record, with the RAC attributing the increase to recent cold weather conditions in February and March. David Bizley, the organisation’s chief engineer, said: “Anecdotally, few would disagree that the harsh cold weather experienced over the last three months has led to a further deterioration of road surfaces.

Bizley explained that while pothole breakdowns in the first-quarter were “not as high as we had been expecting”, the organisation predicts as the cold weather hit late in the first quarter of the year, the RAC is “likely to see more vehicles suffering pothole damage in the second quarter of 2018 compared with recent years.”

A recent report from the Asphalt Industry Alliance previously found the UK’s local road network faces a £556 million annual funding shortfall, with one councillor saying they were facing a “tidal wave” of destruction – though the Government recently announced a £100 million boost for the pothole action fund.

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That extra money will come too late for some, though: local councils have paid out £43 million in the last five years in compensation following pothole strikes. Auto Express previously reported councils are struggling to attract companies to bid for local road projects, something that’s potentially linked to the fact the UK’s strategic road network of motorways and major trunk roads get 52 times more funding per mile than local roads.

Commenting on road-funding trends, Bizley said: “We know that many local authorities will be even more stretched in the new financial year and therefore having to deal with the effects of very poor weather in February and March will be a very unwelcome hit on their maintenance budgets for the next 12 months.”