There is nothing worse than being on the road and having to deal with the craters of distress that are potholes. Britain’s roads are merely mediocre – and this is quite literally.

In the Global Competitiveness Report 2019, published by the World Economic Forum, the UK scores a very average 4.9 and does not even scratch the idea of being mentioned in the list of Europe’s best roads. And this shows. Especially the menace of potholes is unfortunately more than just a minor inconvenience – it’s a growing problem that demands immediate and drastic attention, posing a significant threat to road safety and vehicle maintenance. In 2023 alone, the RAC responded to over 30,000 breakdowns related to potholes – an incredible, unbelievable increase of 33% compared to 2022. That is over 80 calls a day!

How Do Potholes Form?

Potholes are often formed due to a combination of factors including weather fluctuations, traffic volume, and insufficient road maintenance. And as our climate is quite cold and wet, our roads are unfortunately relatively susceptible to them. Water seeps into cracks in the road, freezing temperatures causing them to expand and put pressure on it, resulting in cracks, gaps, and finally potholes. This means they are currently, in the final stretch of winter, in their primetime.

There are currently one million potholes estimated to be on our roads – presenting a substantial risk to drivers. These cavities can cause damage ranging from punctured tyres and bent wheel rims to more severe vehicular issues, leading to costly repairs and, worse, potential accidents. Moreover, swerving to avoid potholes can result in collisions or loss of control, further exacerbating the dangers posed by them. 

What To Do in the Event of an Accident?

In the unfortunate event of a breakdown or accident, compensation for damages incurred due to poor road conditions can be sought. This process typically involves gathering evidence, such as photographs of the pothole and the resultant damage to the vehicle. While navigating the legal intricacies can be challenging, seeking professional no-win-no-fee advice and assistance can facilitate the process, ensuring that rightfully deserved compensation will be received. 

This also means, that beyond the immediate risk to drivers and vehicles, potholes also exact a massive toll on the economy. The cost of repairs and compensation for damages runs into millions annually, a burden – at the end of the day – still shouldered by us taxpayers and motorists alike. Furthermore, the detrimental impact on businesses, stemming from delays in transportation and increased vehicle maintenance costs, cannot be understated. 

What Is the Current Status?

The government budgeted an additional £200 million for the Potholes Fund for the 2023 to 2024 highway budget, plus the £5 billion that they pledged to invest in road and highway maintenance throughout 2020 to 2025. And on top of even that, “fortunately, the Government has committed an extra £8.3 billion of funding to local councils over the next 11 years, which we hope will give squeezed authorities some certainty of cash to help them plan consistent longer-term maintenance. Now we urge the Department for Transport to lay out clear guidance as to how this money should be best used so that councils can actually improve their roads for the future”, says RAC head of policy Simon Williams. Adequate resources towards proactive road maintenance and repair initiatives is needed to mitigate the risk posed by these reoccurring road hazards, as well as fostering greater public awareness and engagement can aid in identifying and reporting potholes promptly. 

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