Pothole-related breakdowns jump in first three months of 2020

Published 01 May 2020

RAC patrols rescued 3426 motorists whose vehicles had been damaged by the UK’s pothole-ridden roads in the first three months of 2020.

Data from the RAC Pothole Index shows that this represents a 64 per cent increase of 1337 compared to October to December in 2019 (2089) and 150 more than the first quarter last year (3276) – a rise of 4.5 per cent.

However, the start of the coronavirus lockdown – which came into force on 23 March – meant there were nine days when far fewer cars were on the country’s roads, so the actual number of pothole-related breakdowns may have been much higher under normal conditions.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: "The last thing any driver needs on the way to do their essential weekly shop is to suffer a nasty pothole-related breakdown that puts their car out of action, especially with fewer garages open than usual. This means the quality of local roads is, ironically, is as important as ever."

In March 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new £500m annual fund to fix potholed roads across the UK. The funding package will be used  to start resurfacing works, preventing potholes rather than just repairing existing ones.

It followed research from Halfords, which claimed that one third of UK drivers have been forced to pay between £1000 - £4999 over the past two months to fix pothole-related vehicle damage.

The research also claims that around one in 10 car drivers and motorbike riders have suffered a serious and long-lasting injury because of a pothole-related accident.


hissingsid    on 2 May 2020

If ever there was a golden opportunity to catch up with essential road repairs while the volume of traffic was unusually low, these last few weeks have provided it. Even the recent long spell of dry weather would have been helpful, but in my area nothing has been done.
Of course the safety of the workforce must be paramount, but surely ways and means could have been devised to protect them.
Another problem is fly tipping at the roadside. Anyone could have foreseen that this would be the result of closing recycling centres, and the manpower required to clear up the mess will probably equal the numbers who could have kept the recycling centres open. Again with appropriate measures such as walkie talkie handsets, the staff could regulate the numbers using the recycling centres remotely and safely.

Codzuki    on 2 May 2020

I have been out walking and cycling quite a bit and only using the car once a week to do the shopping. It is amazing to see how many broken coil springs are lying at the side of the road. Lots of motorists must be well out of pocket when it comes to MOT time. Also if you drive over one of those broken springs you will probably get a puncture and as most cars don't have spare wheel you are up the creek without a spare.

Engineer Andy    on 3 May 2020

Quite right, and I had argued for this in previous comments. My county council has been saying they ARE carrying out road repairs, but this is just not borne out by the evidence on the ground - normally I'd see evidence of some highway repairs (including of lights and signs) going on each week, but aside from them putting up some of those 'smiley face' speeding caution matrix signs, they've done nothing.

All those very empty roads ready and waiting to be resurfaced, including one near my local station that has had the work cancelled three times now, including the week before the lockdown.

I suspect that some of the extra problems have been caused by, ironically, the lack of traffic because the idiot speeders have more opportunity to do so, especially on urban roads, and thus don't see the pothole until it's too late and do more damage than if they were driving at far slower speeds.

Where is my Council Tax going? Half the council services are being withdrawn, some recycling bins not being collected and the recycling centres closed, no street sweeping (great for cyclists and motorbikes, all that lovely debris!).

Plodding Along    on 5 May 2020

Totally agree with you - I even said the same thing to my wife a few weeks ago; perfect opportunity to fix our 3rd wirld condition roads. b***** disgrace that they are!

As for the tips, don't know why they even had to close! It's easy to keep your distance from others at a tip.

NickNike    on 5 May 2020

We're overpopulated, so far too many cars on the roads, and the roads need relaying not just repairing. Welfare costs us 260 billion a year, so just expect the roads to get worse and worse.

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