The AA is advising riders to “avoid puddles" after a record month of breakdowns caused by potholes.

The motoring group says it has received half a million call-outs so far this year from motorists who’ve struck a pothole and damaged their vehicle – that’s 1,500 day.

Recent poor weather and a spate of storms have contributed to a sharp deterioration in the condition of road surfaces, which motoring groups say have exacerbated problems created over a decade in which a backlog of road repairs and maintenance has built up.

Tony Rich of the AA said Storms Babet, Ciaran and Debi had had a "two-fold effect on conditions".

He said:

"What feels like relentless rainwater is covering and increasing the severity of potholes, while also holding back essential road repairs by rightly diverting roads maintenance crews to tackle fallen trees and flooded areas.


"Our advice to those on two wheels, and drivers, is to avoid puddles where safe to do so, but if there is no alternative other than to travel through, then reduce your speed and keep an increased distance from the vehicle in front."

Common problems caused to bikes striking potholes include tyre blow-outs, damaged shock absorbers and buckled wheels.

The situation is set to get worse too, as winter approaches. Potholes filled with water which then freezes further weakens the structure of the road, with more asphalt eventually coming loose - causing even bigger holes.

For bikers, the state of the roads has long been a thorny issue, with the question of ‘to swerve or not to swerve…’ one that often appears on bikers’ chat rooms and forums.

But this latest warning proves unequivocally that swerving is the best answer.

Riders used to argue that swerving to avoid potholes could put both you and any on-coming cars in danger, but such are the size and depth of many of the potholes seen on our roads that this policy now seems outdated.

Rather, we need to reduce our speed and keep a sharp eye out for telltales signs of holes, and look to ride past them in good time.

What if you just can’t swerve?

If you think you don’t have time or space to swerve, remember that the quicker a bike hits a pothole, the more likely it is to sustain damage – or for the rider to be thrown off.

If it’s too late to swerve, go over straight and upright and let the suspension do its job.

Don’t brake harshly as this transfers the load to the front and is already taxing the suspension even before the bump.

Speed and space

If you are ever in the position where you can’t swerve around a pothole, then you’re not fully in control of your positioning on the road.

Cut your speed to give you chance to respond to what’s going on around you – that can mean potholes or anything else that ends up in your path.

Top tip: If you do find yourself about to hit a pothole, get your butt off the seat and relax your arms on the handlebars to let the bike rock on its own under you.

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