Motorists’ biggest concern in 2020 was the poor state of local roads, according to new research.

38% of drivers said this was a big concern, up from 33% in 2019.

It topped concerns about driving this year, despite a dramatic fall in car use because of the coronavirus pandemic. It beat drivers using handheld phones (32%), the poor standard of other motorists’ driving (27%) and others’ aggressive behaviour (26%).

However, it is clear that the condition of roads is the key concern of drivers, with 52% saying they had noticed roads had deteriorated over the past 12 months, up from 49% in 2019. Just 6% thought roads had improved, a considerable fall on 2019’s 11%.

The RAC, which commissioned the survey of over 3,000 people, said this correlates with its own data, which showed 1,871 call-outs for shock absorbers, broken suspension spring or distorted wheels between July and September.

It said these are the breakdowns most likely to be caused by poor road surfaces, and represented the highest number for that period since 2015.

Those in rural areas are the most likely to say road conditions have worsened (59%), while people in London (10%) and other cities (12%) were most likely to say road surfaces had improved.

An incredible 97% of those who said road conditions had deteriorated admitted potholes were an issue, but the RAC noted big increases with other complaints. This included the visibility of signage (46%, up from 17% last year).