Believe it or not, pothole damage to cars is falling

Believe it or not, pothole damage to cars is falling
Believe it or not, pothole damage to cars is falling

The number of drivers having to call breakdown services to deal with pothole-related problems fell to a five-year low at the end of last year, according to the latest data.

The RAC reported that in the final quarter of 2018 its patrols dealt with 1,714 pothole-related calls – 0.8 per cent of its total call-outs.

Calls in the final quarter of the year – usually a busy period due to the bad weather – were the lowest they have been since the last three months of 2013.

Read more: How to claim for pothole damage to your car

However, across the whole of 2018, the motoring group attended 13,093 incidents involving broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels, amounting to 1.4 per cent of calls, close to the record high of 1.6 per cent.

Encouraging picture

The RAC’s “pothole index” which tracks how likely cars are to suffer pothole-related damage also indicated an improving picture on the roads.

In the third quarter of 2018 the index was at 2.5, representing a third successive quarterly fall. It still means drivers are two and a half times more likely to experience a problem than when the index started in 2006.

The record high for the RAC Pothole Index figure was 3.5 in 2010.

Read more: The simple check that could save you from hundreds of pounds of pothole pain

RAC breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “Data gathered in the final three months of 2018 shows a slightly more encouraging picture in relation to the quality of UK road surfaces. Unfortunately, while this is better news we are far from having the beautifully smooth roads that motorists would like.

“Those responsible for our roads have much to do to restore drivers’ faith as too many suffer the consequences of potholes on a daily basis. The next two quarters will be particularly telling if temperatures plummet and water gets into road defects and freezes and expands causing further deterioration in surfaces.

The chances of suffering damage are still 2.5 times what they were in 2006. Picture: Shutterstock

“We know local authorities are fighting an uphill road maintenance battle due to the difficult choices they have had to make in terms of where they spend their money.

“This is why we believe central government needs to give councils increased money for roads by ring-fencing a proportion of the existing £28bn they receive in fuel duty every year.”

Last year, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £420 million to help local authorities in England tackle the problem of potholes and bridge repairs.

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