Motorists ‘increasingly disillusioned’ with state of UK roads

08.07 | 24 August 2018 | | 11 comments

Motorists are becoming ‘increasingly disillusioned’ with the state of UK roads, with nearly half experiencing damage due to potholes – according to a new survey.

In the IAM RoadSmart survey, completed by 7,275 of the charity’s members, 47% of respondents said they have experienced damage to their car, commercial vehicle, motorbike or bicycle – or suffered personal injury – as a result of hitting a pothole.

Approximately 90% of respondents said they have ‘spotted a deterioration of some level in the roads they use’ in the past three years – with just over 50% describing them as ‘much worse’, and 38% rating them ‘worse.’

81% say they have noticed ‘many more’ potholes, with an additional 13% saying they had seen ‘a few more’.

More than 56% said they have to take avoiding action on every journey to dodge potholes, while 27% say they have to steer around a pothole every day.

While a third of IAM RoadSmart members expressed a willingness to consider new funding ideas to help improve the UK’s roads, half were against a 2p increase in fuel duty.

Mike Quinton, chief executive officer of IAM RoadSmart, said: “IAM RoadSmart is deeply concerned at the safety implications of drivers having to swerve to avoid potholes as well as the high level of damage and injuries revealed by our survey.

“We are looking to the authorities to work together to produce a long term and sustainable plan to reduce the backlog of road maintenance before yet another damaging winter sets things back even further.

“The figures from our survey are compelling and it is increasingly clear that those who use the roads on a daily basis are pretty much united on this one – enough time has now passed for a long term plan to be in place and for work to have started.

“As our survey has shown, this is now the motoring public’s number one priority.”



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    Pedestrians ‘swerving’ around potholes Peter? Life must be more hectic in the capital than I ever imagined!

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    Sure the carriageways are now at old Soviet block levels of decay. Though those residents had a Trabbie not an oversized SUV.
    But as road safety professionals, not a single mention that IAM is blind to vulnerable road users. Bike riders, peds and many others can’t swerve around with impunity and often suffer the consequence of drivers taking unnecessary detours.
    Above all though my biggest beef is that investors and tourists see us as victims of austerity.

    Peter Treadgold, London
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    Sorry M, but I don’t agree with your dismissal of kerbing and low profile tyres being a problem.

    The forces involved in tyres negotiating kerbs are pretty high. Those of us remembering cars without power steering will be aware of this. Unfortunately this is little understood by a motoring public who don’t realise just how much “power” there is in power steering at low speeds.

    The problem is not only in the damage to low profile tyres, but also the rims of the wheels because they are no longer above the kerb or protected by a rounded tyre wall.

    Regarding your insistence that low profile tyres (aspect ratio of 50 or less) are uncommon, then walk around any car park and you will find plenty of them. Its not only the mid-range Audis, BMWs and Mercs but even on a Suzuki Swift Sport the standard tyres are 45 profile.

    Google low-profile tyres and kerbing and you will find plenty of sob stories about owners who bemoan the ease at which tyres and rims can be damaged.

    I am not saying that potholes cannot cause damage, but I would question whether low-profile tyres are really “fit for purpose” or “fit for style”!

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (4) | Disagree (4)

    There is a big difference between knowingly and carefully mounting a pavement at a slow speed and unexpectedly hitting a deep irregular pothole at a much higher speed or does he not realise that.

    There is no relationship between the two and so his argument is unfounded and erroneous.

    However, one could say that as the pothole was created by the usage of motor vehicles upon the tarmac then they are ultimately responsible for the damage caused to it and therefore their vehicles. Now that argument I can understand and not disagree with.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (3)

    I think Rod’s point M. was that it’s all very well motorists moaning about damage caused by potholes when they’re risking damage anyway to their vehicles AND footways by mounting the kerbs.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

    Hugh, Rod, Good point Rod????? this is not a matter of parking on the pavements so could we get on with the issues that it raises and not diversify merely for point scoring or for any other purpose.

    Low profile tyres are actually sold on extremely few vehicles and even on those that have been secondarily fitted with them they probably don’t make more than 0.001% of traffic.

    Agree (5) | Disagree (3)

    As soon as anybody finds out I work for the Roads Authority the usual first question is what are you doing about the pot holes. Then they usually rhyme off a list of two or three locations that have caught them out.
    I then ask if they have reported them to the council (either by phone or on-line). I’ve yet to hear one say that they have.
    Unfortunately the Council don’t have eyes everywhere and the ones that I report are usually dealt with within a couple of days.
    Of course the standard of the temporary repairs is a whole different matter.

    Iain, Edinburgh
    Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

    Good point Rod – I’m sure also many pedestrians are ‘increasingly disillusioned’ by the state of footways, caused by motorists parking on them – it’s now an epidemic, where the norm now seems to be to automatically park on the footway, even where there is sufficient width to park on the c/way.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

    No mention of either :-

    1. Low profile tyres which are known to be far more prone to damage than normal profile.
    2. The number of times drivers mount kerbs in order to park on pavements.

    “As our survey has shown, this is now the motoring public’s number one priority.” Really? I note that 85% of the respondents were male IAM members. Hardly representative of the “the motoring public”!

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

    “.. with just over 50% describing them as ‘much worse’, and 38% rating them ‘worse.’ “…81% say they have noticed ‘many more’ potholes, with an additional 13% saying they had seen ‘a few more’” You can’t beat a good scientific survey based on robust measurements can you?

    Shock findings in a new survey out this week suggested that some motorists – not sure exactly how many – have at some point found themselves stuck in a traffic queue – not sure exactly how long for – estimates vary, but in some cases it could have been a while.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (8) | Disagree (0)

    I agree that the state of some roads is pretty pathetic and that some authority needs to take immediate action to remedy their neglect….of the roads that is.

    However two things come to mind. One is that traffic should travel slower. Many drivers consistently use the same roads and therefore its not as if the problem areas are not known and yet they still fail to slow accordingly.

    Second is that many driver do not avoid pot holes merely because they don’t see them. They drive up the rear of any other vehicle in front and simply by doing so they have no or less chance to see a pot hole whereas if they pulled back to a more reasonable distance they could probably miss the vast majority of them and by these two simple measures alone they would suffer less damage.

    Don’t forget they are talking about members of the IAM that presumably are, or should be some of the safest drivers and riders in the country. Yet 47% or over 3000 of them have suffered damage or injury due to a pothole. They suffer this damage perhaps to some degree by their own neglect also and perhaps a lack of safety as one has always to have sight of the road condition ahead, slow and change position accordingly. Where complete avoidance is not a possibility slowing to a safer speed is.

    Doesn’t say much for Advanced Training, drivers/riders does it.

    Perhaps they should have not published this one.

    Agree (8) | Disagree (5)

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