Motoring campaign group Road Angel has warned that new research on the state of Britain’s roads shows the risk to life because of potholes is now severe, and our roads are in their worst condition in years.
Road Angel is urging councils to fork out and repair potholes, or they warn road users “will lose their lives”.
Local authorities paid out over £32 million in compensation for 5,596 personal injury claims due to potholes between 2017 and 2021, according to a freedom of information request.
Meanwhile, figures from the AA show pothole-related breakdowns hit a five-year high in July this year, with 50,079 callouts to vehicles stranded with faults caused by potholes, an increase of nearly one-fifth from 41,790 in July 2022.
Road Angel says a wet summer has meant that UK roads are in a worse condition than expected as water causes greater damage and repairs are harder to carry out.
If left, the organisation notes potholes grow in size as traffic wears away the edges leaving greater numbers of larger holes that will cause serious damage if driven through.
Gary Digva, founder of Road Angel, is now pleading with local authorities to assess the risk to life if the pothole problem in the UK is not repaired.
“It is shocking to see that the pothole plague in the UK is not being taken seriously by local councils, given how many people are injured because of them.
“With fewer potholes being repaired than in the last decade, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing an increase in accidents, injuries and fatalities unless something changes.
“Potholes are incredibly dangerous for motorists as they can cause them to lose control, especially if they damage the tyres or suspension, or they are forced to swerve out of the way to prevent damage.”
Motorcyclists are particularly at risk of a pothole-induced crash, and with autumn weather now covering our roads with puddles and leaves, holes are often impossible to spot until a biker is right on top of them, leaving no time to swerve to avoid them.
As Gary said:
“Potholes not only pose a threat to motorists, but they are also dangerous for motorbikes and cyclists because the uneven surfaces can cause the bike to lose control, leading to accidents and serious injuries.
His advice was “to ride with caution at all times and reduce speeds when approaching a pothole.”