How many of you out there share my frustrations about the current state of our Great British roads? Not so “GREAT” are they?! In fact, I believe that if something isn’t done soon, we’ll be driving on roads of a standard equivalent to a Third World country. Which for a ‘First World’ nation is simply embarrassing.
Highway authorities and councils need to seriously ‘get a grip’, take control and give us the quality of roads we’re entitled to expect for the taxes we pay. And if they don’t take action soon, it’s up to us to kick up a fuss about the situation whenever possible and force them to act.
This time of year, with the sometimes challenging weather conditions, the roads deteriorate even more – and driving nationally or locally becomes hazardous if, like me, you’re trying to avoid damaging your car.
I’ve received horn-blasts, mouthed abuse and not-very-nice gestures from drivers when I’ve had to swerve my car off the regular driving line to avoid massive potholes in the road. I understand why—and I don’t like doing it. But I also don’t see why I should be faced with an expensive repair bill if forced to drive over dangerous potholes which shouldn’t be there in the first place.
What I especially cannot get my head around is that last year, during a two-week spell in the summer, we had to endure massive traffic hold-ups because workmen were out there filling up the potholes on one stretch of busy road I use regularly. There was a collective “Hooray!” among drivers at the time. But our joy/relief was short-lived—as less than six months later the potholes are back, bigger and ‘better’ than ever!
On a recent supermarket run, I nearly ended up in what can only be described as a ‘sink-hole’. It was so deep you couldn’t even see the bottom—at least not from the driver’s seat. If you’d landed plum in the middle of that you’d have been in serious trouble. Amazingly, the highway crews filled that in within a few days—but at the same time missed all the other shallower potholes surrounding it. Very frustrating!
During the course of a year, my hubby and I will usually drive up to Scotland, down to Cornwall, and across to Wales—covering a good part of the UK. So I feel qualified to say that it isn’t just the ‘A and B’ roads—but the motorways too—which are crumbling.
At some point the Government needs to tackle the state of our highways head-on and come up with a plan—not just to repair the potholes, but also to resurface all the roads. Repairing them is only a temporary measure—and if the job isn’t done properly in the first place, it’ll end up costing us more. “Buy cheap buy twice” is a phrase that springs to mind. Obviously it’d be a long-term project—and an expensive one. But it simply has to be done. And ASAP.
With more and more traffic cramming our roads by the day, we can’t go on putting up with the deterioration. Not only are we all at risk of serious damage to our vehicles, but journeys will take longer and longer as drivers are forced to slow down—creating extra traffic jams… and more road rage!
Though our frustrations may frequently threaten to boil over while out on the road, it’s important we don’t take them out on fellow drivers, and instead collectively target our ire at the Government, Highways England (Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) and all the local or county councils responsible. And not go lightly, but let them have it—all guns blazing!
The Government may be struggling to find the money to do this work properly—but might I suggest they reconsider the HS2 project? Now that Carillion is being liquidated, there’s a perfect opportunity to re-assign the £53 Billion-plus into upgrading Britain’s roads. It makes no economic sense to build a section of rail which will improve the time of one train route, when there are millions of us drivers out there every day trying to navigate ever-deteriorating roads.
I also wonder what portion of our Council Tax is being paid out each year to drivers whose cars have suffered extensive damage due to the state of the British roads? Perhaps we should insist those figures be published so we can see the real cost to the UK taxpayer.
And it isn’t a problem which just affects car drivers. What about all the truck and van drivers who hit our roads daily to help businesses thrive and keep our economy moving? Has anyone in Westminster even given a thought as to how firms will be affected when the roads finally crumble completely? I doubt it, as they’ll likely try to pass the buck and shirk responsibility—just as previous governments have. It’s all just so short-sighted!
But something HAS to be done. And it’s up to us, the people, to ensure action is taken. Please share your thoughts about the state of Britain’s roads—and your own country’s highways if you’re reading this outside the UK—in the Comments section below.
In the meantime, stay safe and drive carefully!
Granny Flapjax X