Survey: The condition of
UK roads in 2024


85% of drivers believe potholes are putting them in danger

A huge 85% of UK drivers believe that potholes are the biggest safety concern motorists are facing, and 89% have seen a deterioration of our roads over the last five years.

Article supporting image - Survey: The condition of UK roads in 2024

It has been a tough few years for the British motorist. Rising fuel prices, higher insurance premiums, the increase in used car prices; it has never been more expensive to own and run a vehicle. Yet the condition of UK roads is deteriorating, resulting in further costs to motorists for increasingly common repairs to damaged tyres, wheels and springs.

Throughout February and March 2024 ran a survey asking for people’s opinions on the condition of UK roads. In total 838 people responded, allowing us to build up a clear picture of how the UK public currently perceive the condition of our road network.

Respondents to the survey were from all corners of the UK, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all being represented. 61% of people questioned described themselves as being predominantly town and city road users, however all types of road users responded to the survey including rural and motorway users.

Questioning this large cross-section of the UK public has allowed us to get some fascinating results.

When asked what they believed was the biggest safety issue facing UK motorists in relation to road infrastructure, the overwhelming majority (85%) responded that their biggest concern is potholes, and when asked if they find road repairs to be of an acceptable quality only 33% believe that the work is carried out to a satisfactory standard, with 565 people (67%) believing that the quality of road maintenance is not good enough.

The dangers of potholes

Pothole in a UK road

For all road users, whether you are a driver, a rider/cyclist or a pedestrian, potholes are at best a nuisance. As drivers, vehicles can become damaged. As pedestrians they can be a trip hazard or a source of a soaking from a careless driver passing by. As motorcyclists and cyclists they are an ever present danger of being thrown off your bike. According to ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), the road environment – which includes the state of road surfaces – is a contributing factor in around 12% of road accidents*.

Our roads are getting worse

Alarmingly, it appears that our road conditions are deteriorating. When asked if they believed that the condition of UK roads had improved or deteriorated over the last 5 years, 747 (89%) of the respondents believed that our roads had become worse and 58% of people are reporting that the roads that have faired the worst in that time have been the smaller B roads and roads in and around our towns and cities. One silver-lining that we were able to discover is that when asked if there were any roads where they had found improvements, 20% did respond that the condition of our motorway network had improved, although this must be countered somewhat by the fact that 74% mentioned that they believed no improvements have been seen on any road types across the network.

Where does the money to repair roads come from?

Temporary traffic lights at the start of roadworks

It is a common misconception that road tax – or to give it its correct title vehicle excise duty, pays for the upkeep of the nation's roads. The reality is a bit more complicated. The money raised from vehicle excise duty and fuel duty goes into a central government fund which is then distributed to fund many different projects, one of which is on-going road maintenance.

In 2022/23 vehicle excise duty and fuel duty generated £32.4 billion** in taxes for the Exchequer and in 2021/22 approximately £11.8 billion** was invested into the road network. Of those surveyed 69% would like to see more investment in road maintenance from the taxes that are being directly levied on the nation's motorists.

What about EVs?

Electric vehicle being charged

Currently all electric vehicles (EVs) are exempt from paying vehicle excise duty. When asked if they agree with this, 74% said that EV owners should have to pay towards the upkeep of the road network.

The law is due to change on this. From 2025 owners of electric vehicles that were first registered on or after 1st April 2017 will be liable to start paying the lower rate of vehicle excise duty in the first year, followed by the standard rate in all subsequent years***.


The survey has helped shed a clear light on the current condition of UK roads. It is clear that many people feel that the state of our roads is deteriorating and we know that there is a correlation between road condition and road accidents and vehicle damage. The public feel passionately that more must be done to improve the quality of road surfaces for all road users.

Full survey results

Number of people surveyed: 838

The type of driving most encountered on a day-to-day basis:

  • Urban: 510 (61%)
  • Rural: 176 (21%)
  • Motorway: 17 (2%)
  • Mixture of all: 135 (16%)

Has the condition of UK roads improved or deteriorated over the last 5 years?

  • Improved: 27 (3%)
  • Deteriorated: 747 (89%)
  • No change: 64 (8%)

Are there certain types of roads that you believe have deteriorated the most?

  • B roads: 483 (58%)
  • A roads: 288 (34%)
  • Motorways: 30 (4%)
  • No deterioration: 37 (4%)

Are there any types of roads that you have seen an improvement in condition and maintenance?

  • Motorways: 166 (20%)
  • A roads: 39 (5%)
  • B roads: 15 (2%)
  • No improvements: 618 (74%)

What is your biggest safety concern in relation to road infrastructure?

  • Potholes: 712 (85%)
  • Maintenance of painted road markings: 41 (5%)
  • Street lighting: 30 (4%)
  • Maintenance of street signage: 16 (2%)
  • Maintenance of safety barriers: 15 (2%)
  • Too much street furniture: 14 (2%)
  • Maintenance of cats-eye road studs: 10 (1%)

When a road requires maintenance, are you generally happy with the quality of the repair?

  • Yes: 273 (33%)
  • No: 565 (67%)

Is the amount of money invested back into road maintenance from vehicle excise duty and road tax too high or too low?

  • Too low: 580 (69%)
  • Too high: 75 (9%)
  • About right: 183 (22%)

Do you agree with owners of electric vehicles not paying vehicle excise duty?

  • Yes: 221 (26%)
  • No: 617 (74%) will be running regular surveys and competitions throughout 2024. Every submission is automatically entered into a prize draw to win a gift card. The lucky winner for this survey was Stephanie from Stenhousemuir, who won a £50 Love2Shop gift card.

Follow us on Facebook to make sure that you don’t miss our next survey or competition.


Article posted on: 27 March 2024.

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