Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Pothole damage to cars has risen by almost a third in 12 months

Potholes are every driver’s nightmare. They’re not only dangerous, but they can damage your car and cause delays.

Rob Hull, The Mail Online, reports:

Car breakdowns caused by potholes soared by almost a third between April and June, new figures from the RAC have shown.

The roadside assistance provider said it attended 3,565 reported call outs during the second quarter of 2017, reaching motorists with cars suffering broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels after driving through potholes.

That compares to just 2,275 pothole-related calls for help in the same period in 2016, meaning there's been a 31 per cent spike in damage caused by dilapidated tarmac.

The RAC's pothole index, which is based on a 12-month rolling average of breakdown numbers, indicated that road quality is getting worse after five successive quarters of improvement.

That's despite Britons enjoying milder temperatures through the period rather than changeable conditions that can have accelerate the pothole situation on our roads.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley warned the figures demonstrate how a spell of extreme weather could now result in road surfaces dramatically deteriorating even further.

He said: 'After a period of steady improvement, it is disappointing to see an unwelcome rise in the number of pothole-related breakdowns.

'The most worrying aspect, however, is the fact that this year’s weather has been so much milder and drier than in the equivalent six months last year and, for this reason, we should have expected the numbers for the second quarter to be lower.

'We fear it would only take a spell of very cold or wet weather for the improvements of the last year or two to evaporate and for the nation to find itself in a situation when we would once again be seeking emergency funding from Government to address the worst affected roads.'

With the condition of UK routes expected to worsen in the coming months, questions will be raised about a lack of funding and resources to repair the crumbling road network.

According to the annual road maintenance survey of the Ashphalt Industry Alliance, local authorities in England and Wales need over £12 billion to improve roads to an acceptable standard.

That figure alone is several times more than councils’ entire annual revenue spending on highways and transport, which was £4.4 billion in England last year with budgets declining in 2017.

A report from the AA last month said local authorities in England have slashed their total highway and transport budgets by £162 million for this year compared to last - a move that could have 'fatal consequences' for the nation's drivers, according to the motoring association.

The biggest chunk of the cuts have been made in road maintenance, used to tackle the nation's increasing pothole pandemic.

Almost £120 million has been slashed in this area alone across the 363 authorities in total, it also funds environmental and safety maintenance to ensure the English road network runs efficiently.

While potholes can cause serious damage to cars, vans and other four-wheeled transport, it's cyclists and motorcyclists who are most vulnerable to personal injury caused by riding into or over a pothole.

Last month, the Department for Transport announced that councils will have access to a multi-billion pound fund to improve or replace the most important A-roads in their area.

Improving commuter routes and well-used routes should be a priority for local councils to reduce the damage and delays caused by potholes. Fixing them before the colder weather should be also be prioritised, before the winter makes them worse.

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