AA warns 2023 'could be worst year for potholes.' Image: Shutterstock.
AA warns 2023 'could be worst year for potholes.' Image: Shutterstock.

Wet summer causes pothole chaos

3 min


Motoring organisation says 2023 could be ‘worst year for potholes’

This summer’s wet weather may have contributed to the ‘third worst’ for pothole incidents, according to the AA. The motoring organisation says there were nearly 50,000 pothole related incidents which happened in just August alone.

Potholes in rural areas and along holiday roads continued to take their toll on cars in August. The AA has created a ‘pothole index.’ The survey’s found related breakdowns were 13% up on August from last year.

This is despite large numbers of motorists cancelling day trips, weekend breaks and even holidays because of the bad weather this summer.

AA research among its members found that 15% cancelled day trips and 6% gave up on weekend breaks or longer motoring holidays this summer because of the downpours.

The organisation says the flip side of this is that rain and surface water will have hidden potholes and other defects on rural roads.

Unfortunately, it means visitors on unfamiliar country lanes and minor roads were more likely to have dropped their vehicle into a hole during the holiday season.

As it currently stands, this year’s count of pothole-related breakdowns attended by AA patrols is already 61% of the way towards the podium-topping 665,702 annual toll set in 2018.

So far this year, the AA has had to deal with more than 411,000 such incidents. The AA says councils responsible for repairing roads find themselves in a race against time to repair as many as possible before the autumnal weather reaches Britain.

Roads authorities lost numerous repair days this summer due to the wetter conditions, and are now keeping their fingers crossed for a dry spell to make up for lost time.

Spotting potholes ‘lurking beneath the surface of rainwater’

The warm start to September could be the calm before the storm as roads deteriorate once the colder and wetter weather hits.

‘During what felt like a continuous spell of rain throughout August, drivers faced the now familiar challenge of trying to spot potholes lurking beneath the surface of rainwater,’ says Jack Cousens, Head of Roads’ Policy for the AA.

‘Some driver’s attempts to avoid damage to tyres, suspensions and steering mechanisms appear to have been in vain as we witnessed another year-on-year increase in pothole-related incidents.’

‘Councils now have a very small window of time to get as much of their repair work carried out as possible before the real autumn and winter weather hits, meaning their road teams will need to work flat out to restore the roads before the weather really turns against them.’

‘2023 looks set to reach the podium of ‘Worst Year for Potholes’, but which colour medal remains to be seen.’

The AA says that this year’s running total of pothole-related breakdowns is already standing at more than 410,000. This is compared to previous annual totals of 594,876 in 2019 and 637,932 in 2017.

The organisation says 2023 is set to become a comfortable holder for a ‘bronze award’ in their yearly analysis of pothole related incidents. It’s calling on more funding to tackle the issue.

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