At this time of year in particular, the poor state of our local and rural road networks is thrown into sharp relief.

Except relief is hardly the right word. As we swerve, crash and bang through potholed roads on our ways to work, to school and to local shops we are all constantly reminded that our road network is in a sorry state of repair.

Latest research, based on data provided by 190 of the 207 local highway authorities in Britain, shows that the fastest councils in Britain aim to fill severe potholes within minutes. However, the most common response time is two hours, with 79 local authorities looking to patch up their roads within this period. Naturally, response times are influenced by how many miles of road a council has to manage and the size of the council area.

Worcestershire is faring reasonably well, with repairs targeted within one hour. This compares very favourably with some other West Midlands councils, which set themselves a rather tardy target of five days to make repairs.

Naturally, with resources tight local highway authorities are increasingly adopting a risk-based approach to fixing road defects. This means the volume of traffic, mix of road users size of a pothole are taken into account when deciding how quickly to act. This doesn’t always work in the favour of more rural and less well-travelled routes of course.

The fact remains that one in five local roads in England and Wales is in a poor condition. Plus, a report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance has shown that the frequency of road resurfacing has declined.

Poorly maintained roads peppered with holes and cracks risk damage to vehicles. These are vital assets to both individuals and small businesses.

With potholes a major danger and inconvenience for many of us, fixing them quickly and efficiently is key.