POTHOLE-related breakdowns jumped by 11% in the last quarter of 2017, new figures show.
The RAC was called to 2,830 vehicles with faults likely caused by poor quality road surfaces between October and December, compared with 2,547 in the same period in 2016.
The firm warned that the condition of many roads is “hanging in the balance”.
There is potential for another sharp rise in potholes by the spring if there is a spell of particularly wet or cold weather, it added.
Driving into potholes can cause broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels.
The RAC’s pothole index, based on a 12-month rolling average of breakdown numbers, indicates that road quality has steadily declined over the last year and a half.
Its chief engineer David Bizley believes most drivers will view the figures with concern.
He said: “Potholes are a menace for drivers and indeed for all road users.
“They represent a serious road safety risk and anyone who has driven into one will know it can be a frightening experience, not to say a potentially costly one.
“For those on two wheels it can be genuinely life-threatening.”
The Local Government Association said on Thursday that motorways and major trunk roads in England are receiving 52 times more government funding per mile than local roads maintained by councils.
It called on the Government to reduce the disparity so councils can tackle the £12 billion repair bill to bring local roads up to scratch, including fixing more potholes.
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