Six-in-10 drivers (60%) believe the condition of local roads they use regularly is worse than a year ago, with a similar proportion (55%) complaining the standard of pothole repairs is – at best – ‘poor’, new RAC data* has found.
What’s more, only 4% think the state of the local roads in their area has improved in the past 12 months, down from 6% for the last two years. The research conducted for the 2022 RAC Report on Motoring with 3,102 drivers also showed that those believing their local roads had got worse had grown by 2% from 58% in 2021 and by 8% from 52% in 2020. While more drivers also think the condition of motorways and dual carriageways is worse this year than last, the proportion is significantly lower at 38% compared to 32% in 2021.
Issues with surface quality are the main reason drivers say the state of their local roads has deteriorated (98%). Eighty-six per cent of drivers say they have to steer to avoid potholes on several occasions. This rises to 90% among those who live in rural locations and falls to 81% for those in urban areas.
But potholes and the like are no longer the only problem: 63% say they have noticed faded road markings, up from 56% last year, while 42% report worsened signage visibility and 35% complain about the amount of litter by the roadside. Lack of grass and foliage maintenance is another problem, cited by 30% of drivers.
While the cost of fuel is understandably the number-one overall concern for drivers in this year’s RAC Report on Motoring (55%), nearly half of those surveyed (45%) still said the poor condition and maintenance of the UK’s local roads was their top motoring gripe – almost unchanged on 2021’s 46% peak and 7% up on 2020, but considerably higher than prior to the Covid pandemic in 2019 when it was the top concern of 33% of motorists. Concern is most pronounced among the over-65s with 55% listing it as their biggest concern in stark contrast to just 27% of those aged 17-24.
This year the RAC also asked drivers to rate the quality of repairs to potholes carried out by local authorities. The findings show that even when authorities are managing to repair local road surfaces, drivers are generally unhappy with the quality of the work: 55% rate the standard of pothole repairs in their area as ‘poor’ (35%) or ‘very poor’ (20%).
Again, dissatisfaction is higher in older age groups with 60% of those aged between 45 and 64 saying repairs are poor, as do 57% of those aged 65 and older. Those living in villages or rural areas are likely to rate repairs worst with 61% saying council repair work is either ‘poor’ (37%) or ‘very poor’ (24%).