RAC says potholes could rival daffodils as spring follows the Beast


The RAC has said it fears that roads will suffer further degradation following last week’s freezing conditions and that spring may see nearly as many potholes as daffodils.

The motoring organisation said that while the true effects will only become apparent in the coming weeks and months, its quarterly Pothole Index, which tracks vehicle breakdowns as a result of damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels, should give an early indication when it is published in early April.

It previously showed that RAC patrols attended 11% more breakdowns in the last quarter of 2017 that could be attributed to potholes than in the same period in 2016 with a total of 2,830 such breakdowns being logged between October and December 2017 in contrast to 2,547 in the same quarter of 2016.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘Unfortunately, Siberian weather was the last thing our roads needed as the freezing conditions wreak havoc with any road surface that is in bad repair. 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 the UK roads is still poor. Road users find themselves faced with a multitude of different types of potholes and road surface defects – so much so that that these defects are worthy of individual classification in the way that naturalists classify species and categorise sub-species.’

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To mark National Pothole Day, the RAC has joined forces with campaigner Mark Morrell, better known as Mr Pothole, to publish The RAC Guide to the Great British Pothole and Other Road Surface Defects.

It said the guide, which it described as a ‘sideways’ interpretation of normal road maintenance terminology, has a serious side: the aim is to encourage more road users to report potholes and surface defects so that highway authorities can fix them. Potholes and other road surface defects can be reported on the RAC website at www.rac.co.uk/potholes.

Mr Morrell 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. I hope this guide through a little humour might help to focus minds as the state of our roads is truly becoming a national embarrassment. There is, of course, a risk that we’ll become as obsessed with potholes as we are with the weather.’

Mr Williams added: "Behind ‘The RAC Guide to the Great British Pothole and Other Road Surface Defects" is a serious message to the Government: give local authorities the certainty of sufficient ring-fenced, long-term funding to enable them to bring all of the UK’s roads up to a standard that is fit-for purpose.’

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