Beavers crossing. Tarmac on the road. Road sign ahead. These are just a few road signs I’d rather see on our highways instead of the pothole suggestion being touted around by Confused.com.
A new sign to warn road users about potholes has been showcased this week by the price comparison site, which has both commissioned the design of the sign and is now petitioning the Department for Transport (DfT) to introduce it across the UK.
The rationale behind the pothole warning sign is that it can be placed at hotspots to warn drivers of the broken and uneven road surface.
Britain’s damaged roads have become a growing concern in the last couple of years, especially following the previous harsh winter conditions that plagued the tarmac on UK routes.
According to a survey conducted by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, drivers encounter around 10 potholes a day, with 90% of all those surveyed saying they’re not being alerted to these road imperfections. As a result, potholes are reportedly costing drivers £400 a year.
So something needs to be done, right? But surely it’s more logical to put pressure on local authorities to repair roads, rather than wasting time and money erecting masses of signs to warn drivers of potential potholes?
Wasted money when potholes are remedied
It’s claimed that funding for the repairs of these hazards in the road are lacking in the region of 50%, and as a result it will take 11 years to fix the backlog of potholes. Does Confused.com not think that the additional time and cost of producing and putting these signs in place might extend these delays? I would argue that it would.
These signs could also provide councils with a lucid excuse for not actually repairing the damaged roads at all, spending the money they do have on other issues. And what’s the point of the expenditure and man hours putting them up when they’ll be rendered useless once the potholes are repaired?
While I do support Confused.com’s incentive to make roads safer and reduce repair bills for motorists, I don’t think this quick fix is the best way to go about it.
As well as being a regular driver I’m also a keen motorcyclist, so I’m well aware of the dangers and costs potholes pose to anyone travelling on two wheels as well as four. But I firmly believe we need to maximise the safety of UK highways by fixing them correctly as quickly as possible, and not simply accepting them by adding signs to notify us where they are.
Health and safety roadside clutter
I also have an added concern – these pothole signs could spark a raft of health-and-safety mad signalling on our roads.
In my opinion, our highways are already littered with too many road signs. They’re sometimes unnecessarily distracting and actually make some locations, especially junctions, more dangerous. So the last thing we need is more roadside furniture.
Instead of designing, promoting and petitioning for this short term solution, I’d suggest Confused.com utilises its resources to pressure the DfT to fix the pothole problem in hand.
How should we deal with Britain’s pothole problem?
Force the potholes to be fixed (93%, 460 Votes)
Install warning signs for potholed roads (4%, 18 Votes)
Leave the potholes alone! (3%, 15 Votes)
Total Voters: 493