Drivers urged to avoid puddles as pothole breakdowns hit record levels

UK

Motorists are being urged to avoid puddles after a record number of breakdowns caused by potholes.

The AA said it received 52,541 callouts in October for vehicles damaged by road defects, which is costing drivers an average of more than £400 in repair bills.

This is the most for any October on record and represents a 12% increase compared with the same month last year.

An average of 1,500 calls about pothole-related breakdowns are made to the AA every day – and the total for the year so far stands at over 500,000.

Earlier this month, the RAC said car breakdowns had reached record levels this year due to the “substandard state” of some of the UK’s roads, causing a “world of pain for drivers”.

Common problems caused by potholes include punctures, distorted wheels, damaged shock absorbers and broken suspension springs.

Potholes are often formed when water enters cracks in the road surface, then freezes and expands.

Garage repair data analysed by the RAC shows drivers are paying an average of £440 if their car needs fixing after hitting a pothole for any damage more serious than a puncture.

The cost of bringing pothole-plagued local roads in England and Wales up to scratch has been estimated at £14bn.

Read more:
A third of drivers ‘have swerved to avoid a pothole’
UK spends least out of 13 nations on repairing roads

The AA’s Tony Rich said: “What feels like relentless rainwater is covering and increasing the severity of potholes, while also holding back essential road repairs by rightly diverting roads maintenance crews to tackle fallen trees and flooded areas.

“Our advice to drivers and those on two wheels is to avoid puddles where safe to do so, but if there is no alternative other than to travel through, then reduce your speed and keep an increased distance from the vehicle in front.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are already investing more than £5.5bn into highways maintenance, and our recent Network North announcement delivers an additional £8.3bn, the biggest-ever increase in funding for local road improvements, and enough to resurface up to 5,000 miles of roads.”

Darren Rodwell, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association – which represents councils in England and Wales – said councils should be awarded “five-yearly funding allocations” to develop resurfacing programmes to tackle the “scourge of potholes”.

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