Drivers consider potholes a more significant concern than drink driving or texting at the wheel

Published 05 February 2021

Potholes are perceived by drivers to be a much more significant concern than they were three years ago, according to the findings of a new report from the UK’s largest road safety charity.

IAM RoadSmart’s annual Safety Culture Report - which surveys over 2000 motorists - discovered that three in four drivers (75 per cent) now perceive potholes to be a bigger issue than driver distraction (68 per cent) – such as texting or talking on a mobile phone - and traffic congestion (65 per cent).

Regionally, eight in ten (81 per cent) drivers in the South East considered potholes to be a bigger road safety issue than three years ago, compared with around six in ten in London (61 per cent) and the North East (64 per cent).

It is currently estimated that there are some 42,675 miles of UK roads classed as being in poor structural condition, costing an estimated £11.14 billion to bring them up to a level which they could be maintained cost effectively going forward, according to Asphalt Industry Alliance.

Research by MoneySuperMarket in November 2020 showed that Wiltshire spent £68.6 million on repairing potholes over the past three years, meaning it spends the most of any county in the UK.

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However, IAM RoadSmart’s research found of those motorists who had experienced a pothole only around one in ten (12 per cent) had enough damage to their car caused by the pothole to require a repair and only around one in six (16 per cent) had reported a pothole to the authorities. Less than one in ten (7 per cent) made a claim for the damage.

The study found that more than half of respondents (54 per cent) have had to steer away or brake hard to avoid impact and damage from a pothole.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: “The pothole situation on UK roads has now become much more than just irritating, it’s a significant threat to personal safety. We simply can’t have vehicles swerving into oncoming traffic or slamming on their brakes without warning to avoid them. Deteriorating roads also put pedestrians and cyclists at greater risk.”

>>> JCB PotholePro can fix a pothole four times quicker than current methods

Comments

hissingsid    on 6 February 2021

As I have said before, the Spring lockdown when the traffic was light and the weather good was a golden opportunity to carry out road repairs, but nothing was done. The most we can expect this Summer is the usual temporary fix known as surface dressing, at best damaging our paintwork and at worst breaking our windscreens.

The dangers of drink driving and using mobile phones whilst driving are well known, but the danger of using the touch screen menus which plague modern cars are seldom mentioned. On some cars the driver has to navigate a menu just to alter the heating! I would like to see these unnecessary devices phased out.

Tony Widdows    on 8 February 2021

hissingsid

A very sensible comment which I agree with. I am in the market for a new car but will not consider anything with a touch screen to work everything, they should be banned, as dangerous as using a mobile phone.

It is not only that the roads are not being repaired, the work is very poorly done. We should bring some Spanish workers over, if you have driven in Spain you will know what I mean.

Martin Napier    on 8 February 2021

Our local Hampshire c. C. Seem to have given up on repairing potholes. I notify the come across, but there is no action. One supposes they await more funds as of the ne financial year in April.
A very dangerous situation, especially so for two wheeled Road users.
Having to slow/swerve/avoid deep holes, not always at the side of the road is very concerning.
Please note Hampshire county council !!!

terry59    on 8 February 2021

The roads in Cambridgeshire are appalling, especially the A10 near Littleport (Ely). Instead of watching the traffic in front of you, one has to spend too much time looking at the road to avoid really bad potholes, and even then, you have to swerve to miss them, as they are both at the nearside of the road and the middle of the road IN BOTH DIRECTIONS!!

GeoffJ    on 8 February 2021

These surveys are flawed and the reporters are scrapping the barrel for things to report

How can pot holes be a bigger issue than drink driving? - be sensible!!

Pot holes are a risk to your vehicle - nothing more). You can easily manage that risk of Pot Holes by driving sensibly - ie within the speed limit and the hazards in front of you. As drivers we manage our own risk of pot holes.

Where as, drink driving is a different scale of risk and consequences - being hit by a drunk drive can cause life changing injury or death; and even the safest of drivers can be hit by a drunk driver.

Steven Boyne    on 9 February 2021

"Pot holes are a risk to your vehicle - nothing more). You can easily manage that risk of Pot Holes by driving sensibly - ie within the speed limit and the hazards in front of you. As drivers we manage our own risk of pot holes."

I disagree. I hit one just before Christmas. I was doing about 45 in a 60 zone; it was dark (rural road, no lighting) and an oncoming vehicle's headlights prevented me from seeing the (nearside) pothole - therefore, I couldn't see the hazard in front of me. The force of hitting that pothole shunted me towards the middle of the road where I hit a second pothole with my offside wheel.

That shunt over to the white line could have brought me into contact with another vehicle had an oncoming vehicle also strayed onto the white line (for whatever reason).

So, dangerous for sure.

Also costly, 2 x new wheels (both front wheels were buckled from the impacts) and new tyres (one sidewall was split and the other tyre damaged).

Edited by Steven Boyne on 09/02/2021 at 21:19

GeoffJ    on 10 February 2021

Hi Steven. Sorry to here about your troubles - most unfortunate.

I think we need to retain some perspective. There are two possible counter views to your summary.

1) Life is complex and there are always unlikely or edge scenarios that are not representative. We need to proceed with care if we are to try and set policies with only edge scenarios at the front of tour mind.

2) I was not there, but it appears from what you have stated - given the "conditions" you were were driving too fast. You seem to suggest that our speed was low (and therefore you were driving safely?) because you were driving 45 on 60mph road. Being below the "max" speed has never meant that the driving is deemed to be at a safe speed. Given that it was night time, there were no street lamps and there is the clear risk of being temporarily blinded by oncoming headlamps - it is likely that in these conditions you should have been driving much slower than 45mph.

Edited by GeoffJ on 10/02/2021 at 13:38

Chris Ottewell    on 8 February 2021

As I have said before, the Spring lockdown when the traffic was light and the weather good was a golden opportunity to carry out road repairs, but nothing was done. The most we can expect this Summer is the usual temporary fix known as surface dressing, at best damaging our paintwork and at worst breaking our windscreens. The dangers of drink driving and using mobile phones whilst driving are well known, but the danger of using the touch screen menus which plague modern cars are seldom mentioned. On some cars the driver has to navigate a menu just to alter the heating! I would like to see these unnecessary devices phased out.

I disagree AS LONG AS THEY ARE USED PROPERLY touch screens are no more dangerous any other controls. Selecting a radio station for example by pressing a virtual button on a touch screen is no different to touching a "real" button. Where they can be dangerous is when used incorrectly - For example to input navigation data. But (1) that is no different to the screen on a stand alone sat nav and (2) you are specifically warned by the system not to do it unless stationary and (3) common sense says stop first!

stephen heath    on 9 February 2021

As I have said before, the Spring lockdown when the traffic was light and the weather good was a golden opportunity to carry out road repairs, but nothing was done. The most we can expect this Summer is the usual temporary fix known as surface dressing, at best damaging our paintwork and at worst breaking our windscreens. The dangers of drink driving and using mobile phones whilst driving are well known, but the danger of using the touch screen menus which plague modern cars are seldom mentioned. On some cars the driver has to navigate a menu just to alter the heating! I would like to see these unnecessary devices phased out.

I disagree AS LONG AS THEY ARE USED PROPERLY touch screens are no more dangerous any other controls. Selecting a radio station for example by pressing a virtual button on a touch screen is no different to touching a "real" button. Where they can be dangerous is when used incorrectly - For example to input navigation data. But (1) that is no different to the screen on a stand alone sat nav and (2) you are specifically warned by the system not to do it unless stationary and (3) common sense says stop first!

AHH yes i would like to change station on my radio stop car , change temp on heating system stop car . got all day to get there have we , silly ending to your comment

J. Mike Rose    on 9 February 2021

As I have said before, the Spring lockdown when the traffic was light and the weather good was a golden opportunity to carry out road repairs, but nothing was done. The most we can expect this Summer is the usual temporary fix known as surface dressing, at best damaging our paintwork and at worst breaking our windscreens. The dangers of drink driving and using mobile phones whilst driving are well known, but the danger of using the touch screen menus which plague modern cars are seldom mentioned. On some cars the driver has to navigate a menu just to alter the heating! I would like to see these unnecessary devices phased out.

I disagree AS LONG AS THEY ARE USED PROPERLY touch screens are no more dangerous any other controls. Selecting a radio station for example by pressing a virtual button on a touch screen is no different to touching a "real" button. Where they can be dangerous is when used incorrectly - For example to input navigation data. But (1) that is no different to the screen on a stand alone sat nav and (2) you are specifically warned by the system not to do it unless stationary and (3) common sense says stop first!

I think what happens with touchscreens is that they can be a bit off putting when you first use them. If you set them up to start with (while parked) for radio presets and go through all the controls you have to use while driving then they become second nature and no more than looking down at a switch or knob.

   on 9 February 2021

It's the same old story no ?? cheap material bad workmanship come to Lincolnshire it like driving on the moon my wife got pulled up by the ?? for drinks driving because she was avoiding the pot holes and the police thought it was funny I can not understand it why not use reinforced cement to fill them in we don't have this problem on motorway plus they are taking so long to resurface a small part of the road

hissingsid    on 9 February 2021

Citroen's touchscreen menus have come in for much criticism for their complexity, but someone there has been listening to the complaints. According to HJ's review of the latest C4 "....the climate control stack has been separated from the touchscreen with physical controls too...."

Let's hope this outbreak of common sense will spread across the rest of the industry.

JULIE D ARNOLD    on 9 February 2021

I regularly report pot holes to FIXMYSTREET and also my local council. The responses I get are placatory at best with not much being done.

Filling a pothole doesnt work long term - one large pothole on my daily drive to work has been 'repaired' at least 4 times in the last 2 years when what really needs doing is proper tarmacking of the road itself. This would also be more cost efficient in the long run surely?

GeoffJ    on 9 February 2021

So many people here are vexed by potholes.

The biggest contributor to potholes forming, is from cars driving at speed in the rain. The tyres cause hydraulic pressure to open up any existing fissures in the tarmac. Higher vehicle speed and weight cause the increased hydraulic pressure.

If drivers opted for lighter cars and drove more slowly then we would have far fewer potholes and the maintenance cost of our road infrastructure would be significantly reduced. - simples.

hissingsid    on 9 February 2021

So many people here are vexed by potholes. The biggest contributor to potholes forming, is from cars driving at speed in the rain. The tyres cause hydraulic pressure to open up any existing fissures in the tarmac. Higher vehicle speed and weight cause the increased hydraulic pressure. If drivers opted for lighter cars and drove more slowly then we would have far fewer potholes and the maintenance cost of our road infrastructure would be significantly reduced. - simples.

Surely the greatest damage is done by HGV's, not by cars.

GeoffJ    on 9 February 2021

Yes HGV cause damage - to large extent this is a necessity for our way of life.
However, the vast majority of car owners are making life style statements by choosing cars that are far heavier than they need to be, and/or driving excessively fast.

Southern Tyke    on 9 February 2021

I moved from West London to Hampshire eight years ago and continue to be amazed at the appalling state of the roads. There are potholes and sunken drain gratings all over the place. When Hants CC Highways people eventually get round to repairs they are done on the cheap i.e. aggregate too large in the tarmac mix so water can collect and freeze and edges to repairs rarely sealed with hot bitumen so the problems will recur. I have been driving in Germany and Denmark at least once a year for over 40 years and the quality of their repairs is amazing in that you can hardly see them and the edges are properly sealed. Someone from Hants CC should ask them for their specification.
Tony Hartley

hissingsid    on 12 February 2021

This typifies the differences in government policies. Germany and Denmark take the long view, do the job properly and do not have to do it again for years.
The UK as with everything else chooses short term expediency, does the job on the cheap and has to do it again every year. Penny wise, pound foolish.

Jamesetyefirst    on 15 February 2021

How right you are.

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