Forty percent of drivers would shell out tolls or taxes to rid the country of its pothole plague.

Two in every five UK motorists would pay more in tax or tolls if it meant the country’s ‘pothole plague’ was stamped out, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 drivers by breakdown recovery organisation Green Flag found that 40 percent said they would happily hand over more of their salary to the government - either in taxation or road tolls - if it meant the country’s problem potholes were repaired.

Large deep pothole in UK road

That stunning statistic was part of Green Flag’s wider research into drivers’ attitudes towards potholes, which found that drivers were encountering an average of seven potholes per journey, with those in the north-west of England and Glasgow finding their roads more pockmarked than any others. Nationwide, some 56 percent of drivers have had their cars damaged by potholes, with a third (36 percent) claiming to have experienced tyre damage and almost a fifth (17 percent) have had suspension faults as a result of the road surface.

Auto mechanics working on car rear suspension

Worryingly, though, almost half of the country’s motorists (49 percent) said they wouldn’t be able to identify any signs of pothole damage to their vehicles, while a mere third (34 percent) said they would be capable of checking their tyres for signs of damage.

But the research suggests damage is still being detected. On average, each British driver spends around £230 a year fixing damage caused by potholes - altogether, that’s the equivalent of almost £5 billion a year.

Hands exchanging car keys and credit card for car repair

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that more than a quarter (27 percent) of those questioned even said they would be prepared to take detours of more than five miles to avoid bad road surfaces.

The research follows a report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), which found that the one-time cost of fixing all the country’s potholes would amount to almost £9.8 billion. Despite the government’s sporadic funding for pothole repairs, that number still represented a £500 million increase on last year’s £9.3 billion figure.

Car flat tyre in rainy day

Simon Henrick at Green Flag said the state of Britain’s asphalt meant drivers should be on the lookout for damage to their vehicles and tyres.

“The problem of potholes on UK roads means there is an increased risk of car damage,” he said. “With this in mind, it is important to stay safe when driving and to regularly check your vehicle and tyres for damage.

“Our research found that only a third of drivers know how to check their tyres for damage, and only 49 per cent know how to change a tyre, so Green Flag is doing all it can to ensure drivers know how to carry out basic safety checks before a journey and carry out simple maintenance to their vehicles.”