Car damage caused by potholes soars

Drivers are two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a pothole-related breakdown than in 2006, according to new figures.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 8:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 9:28 am
A nasty pothole

The RAC said its patrols received 1,714 call-outs between October and December for problems usually caused by road defects, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

These issues represented 0.8% of all RAC breakdown reports in that period, which is the lowest amount for the final three months of any year since 2013.

But the firm warned that the chance of a vehicle suffering pothole damage is still two-and-half times higher than it was 13 years ago.

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RAC breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “Data gathered from the breakdowns RAC patrols attended in the final three months of 2018 shows a slightly more encouraging picture in relation to the quality of UK road surfaces.

“Unfortunately, while this is better news, we are far from having the beautifully smooth roads that motorists would like.

“Those responsible for our roads have much to do to restore drivers’ faith as too many suffer the consequences of potholes on a daily basis.

“The next two quarters will be particularly telling if temperatures plummet and water gets into road defects, freezes and expands causing further deterioration in surfaces.”

One in five local roads in England and Wales is in a poor condition and the frequency of road resurfacing has declined, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance.

The AA has called for learner drivers to have to prove they can spot potholes to pass the driving test.

Several years ago a Wigan garage mechanic said that he had been confronted by a big upsurge in suspension repairs but while potholes were partly to blame, so too were traffic calming speed bumps and the fact that suspension systems themselves on modern vehicles tend to be far more brittle, with less give in them.

And in yesterday’s Wigan Post RAC Foundation data suggested that Wigan Council aims to repair dangerous potholes within two hours of being alerted.

That’s the most common response time, with the slowest councils in the UK taking up to five days.