Motorists warned about UK’s growing pothole epidemic

29th January 2013

Drivers across the UK have been warned to expect to witness misery on their commutes, due to even more pothole-related problems.

The hard-hitting message was delivered by, a campaign website set up by Warranty Direct, as the nation's road network tries to recover from yet another harsh winter.

The return of pothole misery across the UK

Motorists have already been faced with severe delays as road organisations struggled to cope when more than a foot of rain descended across Britain between November and December. The problems only increased over the past couple of weeks, when the weather turned wintry and the majority of the UK was blanketed in heavy snow.

The effects of all of this weather are already being witnessed on the nation's roads, with the M32 near Bristol being partially closed last week when one of the route's lanes needed emergency repair work for potholes which reportedly appeared overnight.

On top of this, a half-mile stretch of the M6 motorway, near the Stubbins Lane local road, is to see two lanes being closed to the public at the end of January so that repairs can be carried out on potholes which are proving too much of a hindrance.

Paul Watters, from road safety organisation the AA, weighed in on the problems, by stating: "Yet again the weather has wrought havoc to Britain's roads.

"The wet autumn and recent cold snap has defeated the efforts of highway authorities to fix the potholes before this winter – we were catching up but are no longer.

"Now they are appearing faster than they can fix them and we're going to be in a real mess once again."

Government and road organisations come under fire

However, believes that the pothole epidemic across the UK is being made much worse due to many of the nation's road organisations opting to relay cheap materials to try and sort out hazardous surfaces.

A concern brought up by the organisation is brittle, porous stone mastic asphalt being applied as opposed to the more hard-wearing hot rolled asphalt.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, underlined: "The pothole epidemic is the direct result of years of under-investment in our roads by the Government. Temporary fixes have just escalated the problem over the years and our highways have now got more holes than Swiss cheese.

"Unless more permanent repair materials and methods are adopted immediately, Britain may never again be able to get through a winter without having to contend with a Third World road network."

Furthermore, the AA's Mr Watters has attacked the government's announcement in its Autumn Statement to provide an additional £300 million to treat damaged road surfaces.

He stated that this will probably be seen as being a "drop in the ocean compared to the likely damage we will see" as motorists try to navigate their way around potholes and other hazardous road conditions.

Local transport minister Norman Baker has reacted in kind to the government's recent record when it came to treating perilous road surfaces, however.

He stated: "We are providing councils with more than £3 billion between 2011 and 2015 to maintain their roads and pavements and last month announced an extra £215 million to help councils get the best out of their road network.

"This is on top of the additional £200 million we gave to councils in March 2011 to repair local roads damaged by the severe winter weather in 2010."

How to avoid a pothole-related disaster

Motorists who are concerned that they are going to suffer hefty bills as a result of colliding with a pothole have been given some advice for trying to avoid such problems.

Peter Rodger, an advanced driver at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, recommended that drivers leave enough space between their car and the vehicle in front, so that a hazardous road surface can be spotted and avoided without any sudden reactions.

Drivers should never pull out to avoid a pothole though, as this could lead them to swerve into oncoming traffic or slamming into a road user currently trying to overtake.

If a motorist hits a pothole by accident, the first thing they should do once they have reached a safe standstill is to check that their vehicle's tyres have not been too badly damaged. This includes checking the product's inner and outer wall.

The AA also has some top tips for avoiding pothole damage, with many of their points echoing those listed by Mr Rodger.

However, the road safety organisation added that tell-tale signs that a car has been damaged after hitting a pothole are if a 'clonking' sound can be heard from the motor's steering and suspension system, if there is a slight pull from the steering or if the steering wheel does not centre properly when a vehicle is travelling in a straight line.

Motorists are urged to head over to ATS Euromaster today if they feel their vehicle and its tyres have been severely damaged by hazardous potholes.

Posted by Danielle Barge