Last week saw the publication of the RAC’s annual report on motoring.  It won’t be any surprise to learn that the poor condition of road surfaces remains a major concern.

However, it may be surprising to learn that this wasn’t the number one gripe this year: the cost of driving has overtaken potholes to take the top spot with 55% of motorists most worried about this issue compared to 25% last year. Among younger drivers, an even higher proportion, 62%, were concerned about rising costs with only the over-65s putting poor road conditions as their top worry.

Like many local authorities, some drivers find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to funding repairs. Motorists are putting off repairs to save cash with younger drivers more likely to do so:  37% of under-25s say they have delayed making repairs and 16% of them have put off major repairs.

Despite cash concerns, the state of local roads was still the number one issue for 45% of drivers in the online survey of over 3,000 drivers which was conducted in the first two weeks of May this year. The RAC reports that its patrols attended 10,000 pothole-related breakdowns in 2021, the highest total since 2018. And 86% of those surveyed reported that they had to steer to avoid potholes on several occasions.

On local roads 98% of motorists are concerned about the road surface quality. There are other complaints too: 63% say they have noticed faded road markings, up from 56% last year, while 42% report worsened signage visibility. The perception among motorists is that local roads are deteriorating: 60% say conditions are worse, up from 58% in 2021, while only 4% said they had improved.

Motorists are happier with the state of the national road network, painting a similar picture to last year, although a third, 33%, say that the condition of motorways and high-speed roads has deteriorated in the past 12 months, compared with 28% in 2021. Just 4% of drivers say that conditions are better now than a year ago. Of those drivers who say major road conditions have worsened, 80% cite the quality of the road surface, down from 88% in 2021.

This year, the RAC asked drivers whether they felt repairs to local roads were completed to an adequate standard. The answers showed that, generally, people don’t think they are: 55% rate the standard of pothole repairs in their area as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Dissatisfaction is higher in older age groups: 60% of those aged between 45 and 64 say repairs are poor, as do 57% of those aged 65 and older.

When it comes to ideas about paying for better road surfaces, 80% of those surveyed liked the idea of a percentage of motoring tax being ringfenced for this purpose. Not surprisingly, fewer people were willing to cough up more to pay for repairs this year, compared to last: only 28% compared to 43% in 2021 and 47% in 2020.

So, here’s an idea: how about turning to a pothole and surfacing repair method that both lasts longer and allows a higher area of repairs to be made for the same cost (see one example below)? If ever there was a time to challenge traditional ways of doing things it has to be now.

Thermal Road Repairs is a green technology company which supplies systems to improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving – at a far lower environmental cost than traditional methods. It invests significantly in R&D, to create new technologies and to continuously improve existing ones.

Thermal Road Repairs: Decarbonising the asphalt repair industry.

High output. Zero emission. Zero waste. Permanent solution.