UK Road Pothole Crisis: The Impact On Couriers

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Phil West

Pegasus Couriers Director

Potholes UK Roads - The Impact of Drivers.

Are you annoyed with dodging the craters that plague our roads? Brace yourself for the shocking truth about pothole damage: it’s a crisis for road users like you. This article delves into the staggering number of potholes lurking beneath your tyres, the exorbitant cost to repair potholes, and the impact on industries like couriers.

Pothole Crisis: How Many Potholes Are There?

The current state of the UK’s pothole problem is alarming, with many pothole damage claims being submitted. The AA Pothole Index has revealed a 13% increase in pothole-related breakdowns compared to last year.

Rain and surface water have made it even more challenging to spot these road defects, leading to a higher likelihood of vehicles encountering potholes.

 AA research found that 15% of respondents cancelled day trips, and 6% gave up on weekend breaks or longer holidays over the summer due to downpours.

The AA has already dealt with over 411,000 pothole-related incidents this year, putting us on track to surpass the record-breaking 665,702 toll set in 2018. The sheer number of potholes indicates that we’re in the midst of a pothole crisis, posing a significant threat to road users.

Pothole Figures: The Shocking Pothole Truth

You won’t believe it – some reckon that the UK already has over a million potholes! Pothole damage has become a crisis for road users, with the number of potholes in the UK potentially exceeding one million. The RAC pothole index found that between 2022 and 2023, 1.4 million potholes were filled in England and Wales – down from 1.7 million the year before. According to their report, 

Since the start of 2023, they have dealt with 18,250 pothole-related breakdowns. This includes damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels. Almost all the call-outs are likely caused by the defective road surface.

This poses a significant risk to road users, as evidenced by the increasing number of pothole-related breakdowns. In the second quarter of 2023 alone, the RAC attended over 8,100 pothole breakdowns, the highest number in five years. The number of breakdowns due to pothole damage has increased by 20% compared to the previous year. Their figures also show a 20% increase (4,450 more breakdowns) in year-on-year breakdowns linked to pothole vehicle damage.

These shocking pothole figures highlight the urgent need for improved road maintenance and infrastructure investments to address this ongoing crisis.

Report a pothole as it contributes to road safety.

If you come across a pothole, you can report it using the FixMyStreet platform.

Reporting a pothole is crucial for road maintenance and can assist local councils in addressing the issue promptly.

Local authorities rely on these reports to prioritise repairs and allocate resources effectively. By reporting a pothole, you’re contributing to the overall improvement of road conditions and reducing the risk of accidents and damage to vehicles.

Claim compensation for pothole damage

Yes, you can claim – but there is red tape. UK councils are responsible for fixing potholes and ensuring road safety, so if they fail to do so and damage your vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation.

Claiming for damage caused by potholes requires providing evidence of the incident and demonstrating the negligence of the responsible authority. To make a successful claim, you must gather all necessary documents and proof of the damage to your vehicle.

It’s important to report the pothole problem to the relevant UK council as soon as possible, as they have a defence if the defect isn’t reported. Once you have reported the pothole, address your claim to the correct authority and provide them with all the required information. 

Here are the contact details to make a claim: Vehicle Damage Claim contact details.

Potholes Cost £1 Billion Per Year on Maintenance.

The Government pledged to invest £5 billion into road and highway maintenance between 2020 and 2025. Is that happening? Well, I am not sure, but one would hope it is. That is about a billion pounds a year on potholes. This highlights the severity of the pothole crisis.
Potholes not only cause damage to vehicles, but they also pose a significant safety risk.
Moreover, the inconvenience caused by road closures and traffic disruptions during pothole repairs further compounds the issue. The £1 billion spent annually on pothole maintenance could be better utilised in other areas of infrastructure development.
To address this problem, the Government must prioritise proactive maintenance strategies to prevent the formation of potholes in the first place.

What causes potholes, and why does the UK have so many

You might wonder why the UK has so many potholes and what causes them to form.
The UK’s high number of potholes can be attributed to its climate and heavy road use. Cold and wet weather, especially during winter, allows water to enter cracks in the road surface. When this water freezes, it expands and causes the formation of potholes. Additionally, the constant friction of vehicles’ tyres on the road surface leads to cracks and wear. The UK’s roads also experience heavy traffic and road use, which further contributes to the formation of potholes.
Local councils are responsible for pothole repairs, but limited budgets and budget cuts have created a pothole postcode lottery.

How Potholes Impact the Delivery Industry

Earlier this year, we discussed potholes being a bottomless pit in the delivery industry – not much has changed. Potholes can – and have already – significantly disrupted the delivery industry by causing delays and damage to vehicles. The state of UK roads, particularly the road surface, has become a significant concern for delivery drivers.  The increasing number of potholes has led to a rise in breakdowns as drivers strike these waterlogged craters. Punctures, wheel damage, and suspension faults are expected consequences of hitting potholes. These issues create logistical nightmares for delivery companies, resulting in damaged vans being removed from operations and fewer or delayed deliveries.

Alternative arrangements must be made when a van is out of circulation, pulling fleet and depot teams away from their core roles. The knock-on effects of traffic-related incidents caused by potholes, such as traffic jams and accidents, further impact parcel delivery and overall customer satisfaction. The Government must take action and allocate sufficient funding to upgrade UK roads, ensuring safe and well-maintained streets for everyone involved in the delivery industry.

Basic Frequently Asked Questions

You may notice common signs of pothole damage on your vehicle, such as uneven tire wear, misalignment, and suspension issues. These indicators can be a result of hitting potholes on the road.

In the UK, specific areas are more prone to potholes. These include regions with extreme weather conditions, heavy traffic, and limited road maintenance. It is important to be cautious while driving in these areas to avoid potential damage to your vehicle.
Local authorities typically take a varying amount of time to repair reported potholes. Factors such as budget constraints, weather conditions, and the severity of the damage can all affect the timeline.

Pothole repairs in the UK generally involve a process called "patching." This involves cutting out the damaged area and filling it with a mixture of asphalt or other suitable materials. The repaired section is then compacted to ensure a smooth surface. However, the effectiveness and longevity of these repairs can vary depending on factors such as the size and depth of the pothole, as well as the quality of the repair work.

Potholes in the UK are mainly caused by weather conditions, such as freezing temperatures and heavy rainfall. When water seeps into cracks in the road surface and freezes, it expands and weakens the pavement. Traffic passing over these weakened areas then leads to the formation of potholes.

Learn More About Being a Courier Driver? Contact Us Today

We are always looking for new drivers to join our team.  At Pegasus Couriers, we provide training, support, and opportunities for growth. We are a family-owned business with a long history of success. Reach out to us today on 0131 287 1000 or visit our website to apply online.

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