Figures have revealed the RAC attended more than 10,000 pothole related breakdowns in 2021 – the highest number in three years.

The stats identified 10,123 breakdowns were experienced last year, with issues including broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels. The data shows this is 19% higher than 2020, when there were 8,524 and is also a 10% increase on the 2019 figure of 9,198.

In fact, the growing issue can be seen by the rise in the percentage of call-outs that potholes represented. They made up 1.5% of the total number of RAC call-outs last year, the highest total seen since the four quarters up to the end of September 2018, which also stood at 1.5%.

An impression of the state of the UK’s roads is ascertained through the RAC Pothole Index. This is done by analysing the pothole-related breakdowns, along with the seasonal impact that the weather is having.

This stood at 1.48 at the end of September but has now risen to 1.63. What this means for drivers is that the likelihood of breaking down after hitting a pothole has risen by over one-and-a-half times since the RAC began to collect data in 2006.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The rot appears to have well and truly set in when it comes to the country’s roads with our patrols going out to vast numbers of drivers who, through no fault of their own, are breaking down because of the wear-and-tear caused by potholes. This is ridiculous because it is almost entirely avoidable if roads were maintained properly. With drivers contributing so much in terms of tax to the Government the very least they deserve are roads that are fit-for-purpose.”

“Potholed roads are a menace, not a mere annoyance – they can cause thousands of pounds of unnecessary damage to drivers’ vehicles, make using our roads uncomfortable and can be a serious road safety hazard for anyone on two wheels.”

“It’s hard to see how the status quo is sustainable. Inevitably we have plenty of cold weather still to come this winter and we fear that by the spring the number of drivers running into problems will rise even further. Not getting our roads into a decent shape is simply storing up more problems – and more expense – for the future.”

Here in 2024? Then catch up on how pothole-related breakdowns rose by 33% in 2023.

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