Friday, 12 April 2013

Honda creates special potholed road to mimic UK driving conditions

Honda creates special potholed road to mimic UK driving conditions

It's a sorry state of affairs when Honda has to create a special, pothole-ridden road surface in order to test models destined for the UK.

Alas, the state of our roads has become such an issue manufacturers are forced to come up with ways of testing and producing cars that can cope with our mottled road surfaces and meet UK customers' high ride-quality expectations.

Engineers at Honda have had trouble replicating British driving conditions on the super-smooth highways of Japan so have resorted to creating a crumbling, battle-scarred surface in which to stress test upcoming models.

The four-mile track, based at the firm's test centre in Hokkaido, is made from the more absorbent tarmac used in the UK. Its porous surface cracks easily and replicates the rutted roads British drivers endure on a daily basis.

It can also be temperature controlled to create the sub-zero conditions of our winters. For added realism, the test track also includes UK-style roundabouts and road signs.

A Honda spokesman said: "The road surfaces in continental Europe, especially in the North, are paved with hard material that does not absorb water.

"This is because, in severe winter, absorbed water in the material may freeze, turn into ice and destroy the roads.

"England doesn't tend to suffer with this severe winter, and so the surface is made with softer materials with many pores to absorb rain to prevent a slippery surface.

"As a result, UK roads have a rougher surface, which creates more road noise than other European roads."

The 'Swiss cheese' road surfaces appear to be here to stay, with many councils opting to pay compensation to pothole-damaged car owners rather than tackle the problem head-on

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