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Dangerous potholes - a killer waiting to strike

¢ 45% of drivers have had an accident or near miss because of a pothole.

¢ 98% would welcome either a clear temporary road sign warning or fluorescent markings around bad potholes.

¢ Motorists encounter an average of 13 potholes on their standard daily routes.

¢ Eight out of ten (80%) motorists are worried they'll have an accident as a result of a pothole and hit a cyclist, pedestrian or oncoming vehicle.

Motorists are today calling for immediate action as the pothole crisis on Britain's roads reaches breaking point with drivers being forced off the road by the dangerous craters.

In a new report by leading glass repair and replacement service brand, Autoglass®, which questioned 3,000 drivers, nearly half (45%) said they've had either an accident or near miss while driving as a result of the horrifying road conditions and four out of ten (46%) admit that someone they know has also been in the same situation.


Local councils around the country have a responsibility to display a temporary road sign when road conditions are poor, but nine out of ten (92%) drivers have never seen such a notice. When asked what measures they would like to see in place to protect them from pothole danger, over half (55%) would welcome a clear temporary road sign and four out of ten (43%) think fluorescent markings around bad potholes would serve as a safe warning to traffic.

Although an extra £100 million was due to be given to local authorities to help repair the pothole damage, this would still have left a shocking £300 million maintenance gap(1).  However, recent reports have revealed that the transport budget is not protected under the coalition government and the recent budget announcement unveiled there will certainly be cuts in public spending.  While Britian eagerly awaits further news, the road maintenance budget is expected to see a reduction of at least 25% resulting in even more potholes on the UK's roads.(2)

The survey also reveals that on an average journey motorists encounter a staggering 13 potholes, with nearly a third (27%) coming across up to 20.  Two thirds (62%) admit they spend more time watching out for ruts than keeping their eyes on the road ahead.

Potholes are costing Britian's motorists around £3.7 billion(4) in annual vehicle repairs with over half (55%) of motorists have suffered because of the treacherous trenches and on average motorists are £220 out of pocket after fixing their car.  Four out of ten (39%) have experienced suspension problems, more than a third (35%) have had a burst tyre, a fifth (20%) of drivers have had their windscreens chipped from the hole kicking up stones and nearly two out of ten (17%), have had their paintwork damaged.

Nigel Doggett, managing director at Autoglass® comments: "The aftermath of the worst winter in 25 years has resulted in the number of potholes on our roads increasing by 40%(3) since last year and if the transport budget is cut by 25% as reports warn, the problem could get even worse.   At Autoglass® we have seen a 25% uplift in calls this year from motorists needing their windscreens repaired, so we experienced first hand the frustration that drivers are facing.

"Our survey clearly shows that motorists have had enough of potholes and they are growing increasingly irritated with the state of the UK's roads.  It's incredible and very alarming that so many drivers have had an accident, or experienced vehicle damage as a result of the treacherous driving conditions.

"In addition to the safety implications, potholes are costing motorists and insurance companies millions of pounds,  which is why we're urging councils to listen to our campaign.

"The poor quality of our roads is a serious safety hazard and by councils simply displaying a temporary road sign, it would reassure motorists that something is being done, while fulfilling their responsibility to keep road users safe."

In addition, motorists are seriously worried about the impact of hitting one of these potholes when there are cyclists or pedestrians passing by with nine out of ten (90%) drivers revealing they are regularly swerving to avoid hitting huge crevices and a further 80% saying they are worried this will cause an accident and they will hit a cyclist, motorcyclist, pedestrian or oncoming vehicle.

Chris Peck, campaigner for CTC - The UK's National Cyclists' Organisation, adds: "Potholes and road defects are more than just a nuisance; they're a danger to cyclists and other road users.  In the UK, there's an average of one pothole for every 110 metres of road. This report clearly reveals that motorists are worried about hitting cyclists when they're forced to swerve and we encourage all road users to report holes and hazards by visiting where we guarantee the information will be passed directly to the local council responsible for that area."  

To see video footage of Britain's deteriorating roads and get advice on how to handle potholes, click here.


(2) Sky News
(3) Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey 2010
(4) According to motorist numbers released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

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