Pothole damage

AA members report new pothole plague - road condition worse than at start of 2012

Road condition worse than at start of 2012

Road condition worse than at start of 2012

A third of AA members have rated the overall surface condition of their local roads as poor, very poor or terrible in a new AA Populus poll.  Only 10% rated them very good or excellent. And as spring arrives AA patrols are reporting potholes appearing faster than daffodils.

Local roads in Scotland and Yorkshire and Humberside fared worst with more than 40% reporting condition as poor, very poor or terrible.

Drivers in Northern Ireland, Wales and London reported roads to be in best condition. But, even there, more than 50% of respondents only rated them as fair.

When asked whether local road condition was better or worse than a year ago, 50% of all respondents said condition was worse with 14% saying much worse.

Only 9% said road condition was better than a year ago and 40% said condition was about the same.  In the North East, 59% of respondents said conditions were worse whilst those saying the roads had improved were greatest in Wales (13%) and London (12%).

Overall local road condition score (AA/Populus)

Overall local road condition scores (AA/Populus)

Damage to vehicles

The survey also found that a staggering one third of respondents had suffered pothole damage to their vehicle over the last two years.  AA members in Scotland were most likely to report pothole damage with 44% of respondents saying their cars had suffered damage.

This spring our patrols are telling us that potholes are popping up faster than daffodils

Edmund King, AA president


AA President Edmund King says: “This spring our patrols are telling us that potholes are popping up faster than daffodils. This reflects the effects of very wet and frosty weather on poor road surfaces. These AA findings are deeply worrying and show that UK drivers are once again experiencing a bad pothole season after a lull last spring - perhaps with worse to come.  The slight let-up in potholes this time last year may have been just a blip in the annual pothole blight that seems to beset us each spring. 

“What is even more worrying is the fact that the new 2013 Asphalt Industry Alliance ‘Alarm Survey’ reveals the scale of the problem from a local authority perspective and things look particularly bleak, with more potholes, a bigger maintenance backlog and less cash.

“Finance must be found to plug an increasing gap in highway budgets -otherwise drivers and local authorities will end up paying more to repair damage that could have been prevented.  We urge drivers to report potholes to highways authorities to allow them to take action and prevent road users from being endangered and their vehicles suffering damage."


Spending on road maintenance by the Highways Agency has fallen by £560 million since 2009/10 and by £301 million by local highway authorities. 

In the Autumn Statement 2012 the Chancellor allocated an extra £140 million of ring-fenced funding to English highways authorities for highway repairs in 2013/14.

AA advice to drivers who experience pothole damage »

14 March 2013

Populus interviewed 22,827 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 21-25 January 2013. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.