Pothole problem grows as government urged to take them seriously

IAM RoadSmart is calling on the UK government to take the danger posed by potholes seriously after growing concern amongst drivers

Potholes filled with water

THE nationwide scourge of the roads is on the increase, and IAM RoadSmart wants the government to take swift and serious action. We are, of course talking about potholes and the risk they pose to a rider’s safety.

Never far from the news, potholes are again being forced into view thanks to a study conducted by IAM RoadSmart that found that road users perceived them to be a greater risk than drink drivers and mobile phones.

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The IAM RoadSmart Safety Culture Report is an annual survey that is designed to track UK driver's attitudes towards different hazards. It is helpful in mapping the nation’s road users' feelings about certain dangers and helps to pick up on emerging trends.

The report found that 75 per cent of drivers thought that potholes were now a bigger issue for road users than either drink drivers or those who text at the wheel. The survey, which is in its sixth year and surveys 2,000 motorists, also found that 89 per cent of those questioned had been affected by potholes in the last year. It also found that 31 per cent of drivers have adjusted their route to avoid potholes, while 54 per cent have had to take evasive action (swerving or braking heavily) to avoid an impact with a pothole.

Speaking of the findings, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, Neil Greig said:

“The pothole situation on UK roads has now become much more than just irritating, it’s a significant threat to personal safety.

“We simply can’t have vehicles swerving into oncoming traffic or slamming on their brakes without warning to avoid them. Deteriorating roads also put pedestrians and cyclists at greater risk.

“It is clearly a sign of the times when motorists perceive potholes to be a bigger growing concern to them than drink driving and texting. And while the statistics show that the devastating impacts of using a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or using a mobile phone when driving still remain, it does highlight that it is time for the government to take potholes seriously and fix the UK’s road network.”

IAM RoadSmart’s research also found of those motorists who had experienced a pothole only around one in ten (12 percent) had enough damage to their car caused by the pothole to require a repair and only around one in six (16 per cent) had reported a pothole to the authorities. Less than one in ten (7 per cent) made a claim for the damage.

How can I help the pothole problem?

The first thing that you can do is report new or worsening potholes as you find them. There is a government page dedicated to the problem, and the results are then passed out to the council that is responsible for the repairs.

Other than that, actually making a claim for damage will help. As it stands, the IAM has revealed that such low numbers are actually claiming for vehicle damage as a result, the economic impact to councils and the government is very low. If this amount increases, they will likely take the threat they pose much more seriously.

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