Breakdown firm claims potholes are on the rise

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The RAC has warned that potholes are on the rise, due to the 'poor condition of the UK's roads'.

An analysis carried out by the company has been published today, on what is National Pothole Day, revealing that pothole related breakdowns rose in the last quarter of 2016 for the first time since 2013.

From October to December last year the RAC saw a 24 per cent increase over the same period in 2015 in the number of call outs attributed to potholes – from 3,962 to 4,903. On these call outs, RAC patrols found vehicles with damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

However, this analysis does not include the most common form of pothole damage – punctures – which means that the true pothole damage statistics are likely to be far higher.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley commented: "This is a particularly worrying finding because of course much of the country has not experienced harsh winter conditions for three years and rainfall in the fourth quarter of 2016 was the lowest in that period for more than a decade. Rain can be the catalyst for the formation of potholes, particularly in the winter when frosts are also common but despite the low rainfall the number of pothole faults attended by RAC in Q4 2016 is still higher than in the same period in the two previous years.

"If the first three months of 2017 prove to be both wet and cold, potholes are likely to appear at an unprecedented rate which would inevitably stretch local authority repair resources to their limit. While urgent remedial repairs will be needed to reduce the risk of further vehicle damage or injury to road users, including vulnerable motorcyclists and cyclists, it is insufficient investment in preventative maintenance, such as resurfacing, which is ultimately to blame."

In the RAC's latest report on motoring, 14 per cent of the 1,755 motorists surveyed said the state and maintenance of local roads was the top concern. Half (51 per cent) of these motorists surveyed went on to say that they thought the state of the roads in their area had worsened over the past 12 months, with potholes being the main culprit.

Bizley added: "This is not really surprising given that the last analysis published by the Department for Transport's suggested that there was a backlog of up to £8.6 billion in local road maintenance in England, and analysis from the Asphalt Industry Alliance's Local Authority Road Maintenance Report suggesting the one-time catch-up cost may be even greater at £11.1bn."