...We'll admit, the photo above may be a bit dramatic, but If you're a driver in the UK, you've probably encountered a pothole or two on the road. Well, the latest report from the RAC is not good news for us. According to their findings, there has been a shocking 39% increase in vehicles suffering pothole damage year-on-year. This resulted in 10,076 separate incidents of call-outs, with issues such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs, and distorted wheels being the most common.
What's more, the number of pothole-related breakdowns has more than doubled from the previous quarter, with 4,915 incidents reported in Q4 2022 compared to a whopping 10,076 in the first three months of this year. The RAC also reported a 14% increase in wheel changes compared to the same period last year. That's a lot of vehicle damage caused by poor road surfaces.
It's not just the increased number of potholes causing concern. The RAC's Pothole Index shows that drivers are now 1.6 times more likely to break down due to potholes than they were 17 years ago. This highlights the repeated wear and tear caused by potholes on our vehicles.
According to Simon Williams, the RAC roads spokesman, the state of the UK's local roads is "nothing short of scandalous." Councils are not obligated to compensate drivers for pothole damage, and they will only consider doing so if the pothole has been picked up in their routine inspections or reported by a member of the public. This is why it's important to report any potholes you see via the RAC website or directly to your local authority.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance estimates that it would take nearly £14 billion to restore the UK's roads to a fit-for-purpose condition, and the extra pothole funding promised to councils is simply not enough. Williams implores the government to think differently to end the pothole plague once and for all. One possible solution could be to ringfence a portion of fuel duty revenue for the maintenance, repair, and improvement of our local roads. Currently, the £28bn collected from drivers is just another form of general taxation.
Drivers contribute billions in tax every year, and it's frustrating that our roads remain in such poor condition. Let's hope the government takes action soon to address this problem before it causes more damage and inconvenience to drivers.