Are you fed up with Britain’s roads? Potholes and worn markings can make driving a headache. It’s particularly frustrating when roadworks seem to constantly puncture our highways. Is there a solution?
A good way to judge the state of a country is by assessing its infrastructure. On this metric, the UK only just comes across as a developing nation.
Crumbling roads and creaking railways are inconvenient at best and downright dangerous at worst.
How many times have you swerved across the road to avoid a huge pothole? Have you found your car gets caught in ruts on the motorway caused by heavy lorry use? It’s a problem that’s particularly relevant today, as it’s the beginning of Road Safety Week.
It’s only going to get worse
It’s not just A-roads and motorways that are suffering. Urban roads are notoriously bad, causing hazards for more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists. Only this morning I was very nearly thrown off my bike due to an unseen pothole.
Surely, things can only get worse. We’re all tightening our belts as a result of government cutbacks, and road improvements are going to be way down the list of priorities for civil servants as they spread a reduced budget even more thinly.
And as if we didn’t have enough hold-ups due to roadworks and emergency repairs, this ‘sticking plaster’ approach to road mending is causing more lost time due to route disruption. Mending the road six times causes more hold-ups than doing the job properly, once.
Danger around the corner
There are a number of things that I think should be improved with this nation’s roads. Worn out road surfaces that contribute to longer stopping distances should be resurfaced. Potholes should be properly repaired, not just patched up – this never lasts very long.
Road markings need to be clear and unambiguous – and someone needs to take a look at excessive signage. Outside this office, there’s a big yellow sign that states ‘DUST SUPPRESSION TRIAL’. Do we really need to know this? What difference does it make to our driving or the route we take? Spend less on signs and more on road improvements, I say.
Viva la Europe
Once again our European neighbours seem to have the upper hand – anyone who has enjoyed a cross-country journey in Germany or France will marvel at the clear signage, lack of roadworks and free-flowing traffic. Admittedly, some of these nations have roads funded by tolls – but, increasingly, so do we.
Why can’t a higher proportion of our vehicle excise duty (VED, or road tax) go towards mending the roads? We’re taxed at the pumps – surely we’re entitled to some benefit?
To mark Road Safety Week (22-29 November) our experts are poised to answer your questions in our live car safety Q&A on Tuesday 23 November, from 11.30am-3pm.