Thursday, 10 April 2014

Motorists unhappy with pothole performance

The government has got a long way to go to convince drivers that they have the pothole problem in control as 67 per cent of motorists think that they are doing a bad or a very bad job of maintaining the nation's roads, according to the latest research published today by road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of female drivers believe that the government is doing a bad or very bad job, but the figure increases for male drivers 69 per cent unhappy with the current state of the roads.

There is a clear lack of communication between the motoring public and local councils.  A third of drivers (34 per cent) think that their council is cutting spending on road maintenance but 60 per cent of drivers don't know if budgets are being cut, suggesting councils are performing poorly on informing and engaging with local residents.  Over half of drivers (52 per cent) think that local councils are doing a bad or very bad job of looking after local roads.  Fifty-seven per cent of males and 49 per cent of females believe their council is doing a bad or very bad job.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Despite the government's pothole review, there is a high level of dissatisfaction with the efforts of authorities to keep our roads safe and smooth drive or ride on.

"The government need to convince motorists that they have a real cure for the pothole pandemic.  This can only be achieved through clear communication on new policies, more sharing of resources, sustained long-term funding and a continued commitment to eradicating the maintenance backlog of crumbling British roads."

The IAM offers tips on avoiding the risks associated with potholes:

  • Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front so that you can see the road surface before you drive or ride on it.
  • If you do hit a pothole accidentally, make a point of checking your tyres once you've stopped. Check the inner as well as the outer tyre wall, which may have been damaged as a result.
  • Avoid suddenly pulling out to avoid a hole – you might discover that there is a motorcyclist trying to get past you, or encounter an oncoming vehicle.
  • Bikers and cyclists need to look well ahead and change direction early so they have time to deal with the holes, and so that their movements don't cause surprise to other road users.
  • Potholes tend to reappear in the same place again and again as previous repairs fail - remember where you saw one and expect it to be there again.
  • Be extra vigilant on roads with lots of lorries and also around bus stops.  Extra pressure is put on the road surface wherever heavy vehicles stop, start or turn.

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