Drivers urged to report every road surface blemish as pothole breakdowns soar

Drivers are being urged to report every road surface crack “no matter how small” amid a surge in pothole-related breakdowns.

The AA, which issued the plea, said it wants authorities to “understand the true state of our roads”.

In April, the company received more than 52,000 call outs to vehicles stranded due to faults likely caused by potholes.

That represents a 29% increase on the same month in 2022.

Graphic showing how a pothole forms

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

If the level of pothole-related breakdowns continues at the current rate, 2023 will be the second worst year on record for road conditions, behind only 2018.

The AA said councils have a responsibility to inspect local roads on a regular basis but “cannot be held responsible for a pothole they didn’t know about”.

Jack Cousens, AA head of roads policy, said: “The pothole pandemic looks set to remain for quite some time, with little hope of a cure on the horizon.

“In order to help Government and councils understand the true state of our roads, we need the public to report every pothole they see.

“Regardless of their size, depth, the type of road and its position in the lane, we need to make 2023 The Year of the Pothole so we can get our roads repaired.

Pothole Stock
Cyclists are at risk of damage from pot holes, too (Tim Goode/PA)

“Potholes come in all shapes and sizes, each one posing a different type of danger.

“While the worst are like deep caves, shallower splits that snake across the surface can catch the wheels of cyclists causing severe damage.

“On safety grounds alone, we need to do all we can to shine a light on the awful condition of UK roads.”

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

Recent analysis by the Local Government Association showed Government funding for maintaining England’s motorways and major A roads was 31 times higher per mile than for repairing local roads last year.

Meanwhile, the Government increased its Potholes Fund – which provides money to councils in England to tackle the issue – by £200 million to £700 million for the current financial year.

Cllr Linda Taylor, Transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: “Extra funding announced in this years’ Budget will help but faced with considerable inflationary pressures and this existing backlog, it is clear challenges for councils still remain.

“Only by the Government providing councils with increased and long term funding certainty can this growing problem be addressed and our roads bought up to scratch.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We encourage people to report road issues to their local authority and we’re investing more than £5 billion from 2020 to 2025 to help them maintain local roads, with an extra £200 million announced at the Budget.

“This will help local authorities fix millions of potholes a year and resurface roads up and down the country, making journeys smoother and safer for everyone.”