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Motorists going 'Potty' over Potholes

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A new road sign has been designed by a car insurance comparison site, specifically to alert road users to the UK’s increasing pothole problem. The road sign is the first of its kind for this type of warning and the car insurance comparison site is petitioning to urge the Department for Transport to introduce it to roads across the UK.

As potholes are a constant source of frustration for drivers, the sign has been developed in response to recent findings that even with sufficient budgets; it would take councils at least 11 years to repair the UK’s damaged roads.

82% of drivers would like to see a road sign dedicated to potholes after it was revealed that pothole damage can cost UK drivers on average £400 a year. The average motorists will face at least ten potholes a day.

A survey from asked 2000 drivers if they feel adequately alerted to potholes in the road, and 90% responded that they didn’t.

The road sign design was inspired after Ted Relf, a plumber from Kent and a pothole crusader made national headlines in April 2010 when his homemade warning sign against potholes was removed by the local council.

Relf created a similar pothole sign to warn motorists driving down a badly potholed road, although police had to ask him to remove the sign after complaints that it was a distraction.

Ted Relf says: “We all moan about potholes and now we have the chance to do something about them. I created my own pothole sign last year because I was concerned for the safety of drivers on my road. I fully support the introduction of an official pothole road sign and urge the nation to sign the petition.”

The pothole road sign the creation of Phil Baines from Central St Martins, University of the Arts London and has been produced in accordance with the signage guidelines set by the Department for Transport.

Baines, designer and signage expert, says: “Warning road signs are there as a safety measure to warn drivers of potential dangers, and potholes certainly fall within that category. Given the scale of the current problem I would welcome a specific pothole sign being added to the Traffic Sign Manual.”

Potholes are becoming an increasing problem for motorists, and if potholes increase at their current rate, then by 2030 the amount of potholes in the UK will be as long as the M4. They are responsible for £10.6 million in compensation pay-outs. Road upkeep has fallen below standards recently with funding becoming less and less; currently the structural budget has a £686 million shortfall.

One man’s idea of tackling the pothole problem is through gardening. Cyclist Steve Wheen has been planting flowers in potholes around London after becoming disillusioned with the state of Britain’s roads.

Fans have been suggesting potholes for keen gardener Wheen to plant the flowers in, although the idea can be short-lived, one project only lasted two hours, although the longest has lasted up to three weeks.

Wheen said, “I choose smaller roads or pavements with potholes and work early morning or evening so that I don’t get run over while gardening. I prefer to use low plants with bright, colourful flowers in the hope that motorists will see my gardens and avoid them.”

Things You Didn’t Know About Potholes
  • A pothole is only officially a pothole once it’s 1.5 inches deep.
  • UK road maintenance is currently under funded by 50%.
  • The average road in England is only resurfaced every 65 years. In Wales it is every 81 years.
  By Ben Malkin   ©Copyright Autonet Insurance