England’s issue with potholes doesn’t look like it’s going to ease off anytime soon, with figures published by the Local Government Association (LGA) claiming that it will take an estimated 14 years just to clear the nation’s current pothole repair backlog.
This is an increase on the 10.9 years which was claimed back in 2006, with Martin Tett, the transport spokesperson at LGA, acknowledging: “It is becoming increasingly urgent to address the roads crisis we face as a nation.
“Our roads are deteriorating fast and it would take almost £12 billion, and it could be nearly 2030, before we could bring them up to scratch and clear the current roads repair backlog.”
With potholes becoming an increasingly problematic issue throughout England, vehicle hire and leasing specialist Northgate has the following advice:
Be on the lookout for potholes
With the sheer number of potholes on England’s roads today, there is a very good chance that you will encounter one sooner than later.
Therefore, these tips will help you to drive safely on roads that have defects:
- Look for unusual activity from fellow road users: If drivers in front of you are all taking action to change course, they will likely be doing so in order to avoid a hazard; a pothole, for example.
- Keep your distance from the vehicle in front: Leaving plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front means that you will have time to see a fellow driver change their course and act accordingly. It also means that you will be able to see potholes in advance if someone else hasn’t and has proceeded to drive over it.
- Keep your speed down: Sticking to a road’s speed limit or even going slower if you feel the route is prone to have potholes will be a smart move, as you can cause more damage to your vehicle if you strike a defect at higher speeds.
- Be wary when driving in wet weather: Rainwater will accumulate within potholes, meaning that the defects could become masked as puddles. Therefore, look out for any instances when the road surface is particularly reflective or has a shimmering effect when you’re driving in wet weather and especially in areas with low light.
Advice for driving over potholes
Have you found yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to drive over a pothole? Don’t panic, as this step-by-step guide will help you get across the defect without causing huge damage to your vehicle:
- Avoid braking unnecessarily: You should avoid applying your brakes as much as possible when driving across a pothole. Braking causes your vehicle to tilt forward and puts more stress on its front suspension system as a result.
- Drive carefully across the defect: If you’ve spotted a pothole in advance, you should approach the defect by allowing your vehicle’s front wheels to roll freely into the hole.
- Maintain a ’10 to 2’ hands position on your steering wheel: Ensure you’re holding the steering wheel properly in the ’10 to 2’ hands position that you will have been taught as soon as you started driving. Doing so means you will have the best chance of keeping your vehicle in control as you cross a pothole.
- Check for damage at the safest opportunity: Even if you are confident that your vehicle hasn’t sustained damage from travelling over a pothole, you should also check it out. You can do this either by simply stopping in a safe place and having a walk around your vehicle to check for loose or lost parts (hubcaps, for example) or calling into a local garage and asking if they can check for issues with tracking and wheel alignment, suspension or your tyres.
Reporting a pothole
If you have found a pothole, you can provide a helping hand to fellow road users by reporting the defect — something that all councils allow on their official websites.
Not entirely sure which constituency the pothole is in? Try RAC’s report a pothole online system. The form takes mere minutes to fill out and will see the defect being quickly reported to the relevant authority with the help of national road fault reporting system Street Repairs.