In the week that National Pothole Day fell and a survey found that breakdown claims likely to be related to the cursed craters has increased, a single pothole in Surrey was the cause of at least 12 vehicles experiencing burst tyres and damaged wheels in just one evening.
National Pothole Day falls on 15 January each year. Against the backdrop of cuts in the government's contribution to councils' roads maintenance budgets and soaring repair and materials costs, as reported recently by Autocar, the event has rapidly acquired greater significance as each year the number of motorists who claim their cars have been damaged by potholes increases.
The pothole that was the cause of at least 12 cars suffering wheel and tyre damage in the early evening of 17 January is located at the side of the B380, a busy country road between Woking and Guildford.
The unfortunate drivers managed to limp a further mile to the sanctuary of the Fox Inn, where they gathered to change their tyres or await rescue.
Nigel Mart, the pub's owner, said one driver had arrived with two punctures and a damaged wheel. "One evening at the end of last month, four drivers arrived with broken wheels but this is the largest number of damaged cars we've seen," he said. "I expect we'll see many more."
If he's correct, they may not be victims of the same pothole. Two days after the incident, Autocar inspected it, only to find that, fortunately, it had been repaired by the council.
The latest figures from the RAC show that between last October and the end of December, its staff attended an average of 20 vehicle breakdowns per day for pothole-related damage, the highest number recorded for the fourth quarter of the year since 2019 and an increase of 23% on the previous three months.
The organisation says the current wintry weather is hastening the development of potholes and predicts that come spring, the roads will be in a much worse condition.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: "With drivers rating the ongoing poor state of the roads as one of their biggest motoring frustrations, they can only hope that 2023 is the year when the government comes up with a better way to solve the problem.”