Pothole-related breakdowns in the UK were up by 39 percent between January and March this year, according to the RAC. The motoring organisation says damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels – issues likely caused by poor road surfaces – accounted for more call-outs than in any other three-month period since 2021.

In total, the RAC says it attended more than 10,000 such breakdowns during the first quarter of the year – an increase of almost 3,000 (39 percent) compared with the same period last year. However, it’s still well down on the first quarter of 2021, when the RAC received almost 15,000 pothole-related callouts.

Covering parts of winter and spring, the first quarter of the year is commonly a rough period for vehicles’ wheels and suspension, as winter weather plays havoc with road surfaces. As a result, the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s March report on road surfaces now says fixing all the potholes in England and Wales would set the government back £14 billion.

Upset driver inspecting wheel damaged from potholes

Similarly, the RAC’s Pothole Index initiative, which tracks pothole call-outs from 2006 and seasonally adjusts the figures for weather, reveals drivers are now 1.6 times more likely to break down due to pothole damage than they were 17 years ago.

RAC roads spokesman Simon Williams said the increase in pothole-related breakdowns was “scandalous” and the government needed to fix the nation’s “dire” road surfaces.

“The high number of call-outs our patrols have attended in the first three months of the year – and the enormous increase compared to a year ago – is nothing short of scandalous,” he said. “Drivers are telling us that the UK’s local roads are in a worse state than ever and it’s hard to disagree looking at some of the craters that litter so many of our carriageways.

“It’s not right that drivers who are struggling to make ends meet are having to fork out for new tyres, wheels, suspension springs and shock absorbers simply because our roads have been allowed to fall into such a dire state of repair.

“With the Asphalt Industry Alliance reporting that it would take nearly £14bn to restore the UK’s roads to a fit-for-purpose condition, it’s impossible to see a way back from where we are without the Government finally recognising there’s a problem and coming up with a new way to solve it. The extra pothole funding promised to councils just isn’t enough.”

Road worker repairing pothole in Buckingham UK