Pothole-related breakdowns soar in 2017 - could poorer roads be to blame?

Cars pass a deep potholed road in Gloucestershire, which along with most of the South West UK, needs attention and repair work after a year of heavy rainfall and recent flooding, creating potholes and debris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday January, 6, 2013. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Figures released by the motoring service company, the RAC reveal that the number of drivers breaking down due to impacts with potholes rose by 11 per cent in the latter part of 2017.

The RAC's breakdown service attended a total of 2,830 incidents related to potholes in October, November and December last year – compared to just 2,547 over the same period in 2016.

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Further analysis supports this. The RAC admits that breakdowns usually increase during the final quarter of the year, due to worsening weather conditions. However, it reports that the rate of increase between this period and the preceding three months was 45 per cent, compared to 38 per cent in the previous year.

The RAC's figures come just days after a consortium of local councils revealed the disparity in funding between major and minor roads. Motorways and strategic trunk roads receive, on average, 52 times more funding than smaller council-managed roads.

The RAC's chief engineer, David Bizley suggests that the worsening road quality is a major factor in the number of breakdowns. "After several years in which the surface quality of our roads appeared to be improving, the latest analysis of RAC breakdown data suggests that for the third successive quarter we have gone backwards," he said.

"Distorted wheels, broken springs and shock absorbers can be very expensive problems to put right," Bizley added, also warning that they can be "genuinely life-threatening" for motorcyclists and scooter riders.

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