It’s not unusual to hear drivers complaining about the state of the roads, particularly with the harsh weather conditions that have been experienced over the past couple of winters.
Not only can these hazards cause damage to a vehicle, but they can also have a negative impact on road safety, meaning it’s essential that drivers know what they’re dealing with.
Top of drivers’ list of bugbears at the moment is potholes, which are causing millions of pounds’ worth of damage. According to the Institute for Advanced Motoring, the cost inflicted by these highway menaces could be as high as £320 million each year.
What’s more, there are those who think motorists are going to have to deal with potholes for some time to come.
“Councils are working under severe budget constraints and we believe that priorities may be quite different this year when it comes to dealing with issues such as potholes. It would not come as a surprise if local councils take a lot longer to deal with the problem,” David Williams, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, said.
He went on to recommend drivers take it upon themselves to deal with potholes, by reporting any serious craters to the local council to have them dealt with and learning to drive safely and responsibly around them.
Drivers should ensure they keep their distance from the vehicle in front in case they unexpectedly hit a pothole, and drive more slowly on residential roads or country lanes where potholes are more likely to be. Bus stops and routes often used by lorries are other key problem areas.
If motorists do hit a pothole, swerving is the worst thing they can do, as this presents a host of dangers for other road users, particularly cyclists and riders. People should stop when it is safe to do so and check for any damage, particularly on tyres, to avoid problems later on in their journey.
Unfortunately, potholes aren’t the only problems with Britain’s road surfaces, indeed DIAmond Advanced Motorists recently launched a war on what it is calling tarmacgeddon.
Mike Frisby, DIAmond chief examiner, commented: “Not only do we now need remedial work to be undertaken as a matter of urgency, but the UK government also has to prioritise and fund a programme of planned maintenance on a long-term basis.”
It has been suggested £9.5 billion is needed for upgrading the UK’s road network and some of this, according to the Road Safety Markings Association, should go towards improving the white lines on some of the country’s most dangerous roads.
The organisation carried out research on the ten most perilous roads, as identified by the Road Safety Foundation, and found many of these have road markings which are seriously subpar and present a major safety hazard.
George Lee, national director of the Road Safety Markings Association, said: “The evidence is stark: eight out of ten of our most deadly roads have the most deadly markings … or in many cases, no markings at all.
“If the UK’s eight most dangerous roads alone can be made safer and lives saved by spending less than £550,000, surely this is a sum we cannot justify saving.”
Further research from the Road Safety Foundation revealed seven of the top ten roads identified as being the most improved had undergone “targeted road marking treatments”. And these improvements had resulted in a 74 per cent cut in the number of road casualties.
Drivers also have their role to play in making sure they stay safe on damaged roads, through simple steps like keeping their cars in top condition and taking the sensible precautions recommended by so many motoring organisations.
This article was written by AXA car insurance UK.