Shouldering, the blame

Your reply in a recent Sunday Telegraph 'Life' section entitled 'Out Burst' concerned me greatly as AW reported having suffered two blowouts with his Mercedes. I have two cars, a Mercedes E320CDI estate and an Audi R8. The roads around Huddersfield are littered with speed cushions and I encounter great problems with the R8. Experience has shown I cannot straddle the cushions, as many are too high and consequently the underside of my car is damaged. If I drive over them one wheel over and the other on the road, at 10 to 15 mph, I still damage the underside of the front sill. The Mercedes is used daily and consequently receives the most punishment from traffic calming measures. Following my reading of your 'Life' reply I carried out a cursory inspection of my Mercedes wheels and tyres and all appeared OK. To be safe I took my car to a local Specialist today and on closer inspection it was found my near side front tyre was split along the inner shoulder. The tyre was in a dangerous condition and I shudder to think what could have happened on my next journey to Scotland in a couple of week’s time. The Specialist said this was typical of speed cushion damage and showed me examples of recent tyres he had replaced for customers. I also was amazed at the number of alloy wheels he had replaced because they had cracked along the rim. I am indebted to you and your article for making me focus more on the problem, and wish you every success in your campaign.

Asked on 30 January 2010 by M.S., Huddersfield

Answered by Honest John
Many thanks. That's letter of the week because, in the face of denial of all responsibility for speed cushion damage by the perpetrators, my reply turned out timely and may have saved your life. Another reader came up with the perfect name for these dangerous obstructions: "pot hills". In the absence of any support from tyre makers, we are thinking of setting up out own tyre wear test to find out how many speed cushions it takes to wreck a set of tyres. Meanwhile work to repair the frost and snow damage to UK roads is slow because the taxpayers money has been spent vindictively festooning them with dangerous ‘speed cushions’ the only benefit of which has been to the contractors balance sheets.
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