THE NUMBER of pothole-related call-outs received by the RAC each day has more than doubled this week.
The huge increase has come in the wake of the wintry weather caused by the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma.
Between February 1 and March 3 this year, the breakdown service received an average of 104 call-outs a day from stricken motorists whose cars had suffered damage because of poorly maintained roads.
Between Sunday and Tuesday, and after a fairly rapid weekend thaw, that figure stood at an average of 218 call-outs a day.
Problems blamed on poor road surfaces included damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.
Following last week’s sub-zero conditions, the RAC said it was fearful that the huge increase was because water had got into cracks in the road surfaces, then frozen and expanded in the cold weather, splitting the tarmac.
In the final quarter of 2017, the RAC’s Pothole Index, which tracks pothole-related damage, showed the number of call-outs related to the issue increased by 11 per cent on the previous year. Between October and December 2017 there were 2,830 call-outs, with 2,547 in the same period in 2016.
At the time, the breakdown service warned that the UK’s road network ‘hung in the balance’, particularly if there was a cold start to 2018.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘While the snow caused serious short-term travel disruption, motorists will sadly be suffering its consequences for months and possibly years to come, as our roads were already in a poor state of repair before the extreme cold weather hit.
‘We fear that this spring we may see the emergence of almost as many potholes as daffodils. And although this is the season that is supposed to signal the start of better, warmer weather, this year we think it’s likely to be the start of even worse road surfaces for motorists to drive on.
‘Despite a succession of government ‘‘Pothole Funds’’, the state of UK roads is still poor. Road users find themselves faced with a multitude of different types of potholes and road surface defects.’
Mark Morrell, a campaigner better known as Mr Pothole, said: ‘I’ve been campaigning about the state of our roads for five years, but in all that time I can’t remember them ever being worse.
‘We all know local authorities are cash-strapped, but they also have a duty to provide road surfaces that are fit for purpose, which many sadly aren’t.’
Written by Darren Cassey
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