Motorists in Derby are claiming that a new roundabout has caused ten accidents in 48 hours. They are blaming a lack of lighting and signage for the cluster of fender benders. But are such road issues just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Britain’s road network? Are you up to speed with all the dangers that the UK’s motorists face?

The roundabout on the A516 in Derby had only been open for two days when drivers revealed that it had caused multiple accidents because motorists were failing to see it in time. So bad was the situation that one motorist, David Wilson, not only crashed his car but witnessed another car drive over the roundabout while he waited to be rescued. Wilson told the Daily Mail,

“Fortunately, for whoever was driving, it was a Land Rover and they were able to get over the island without too many difficulties, but other people are going to crash there until something is sorted.”

What went wrong?

Thankfully, no one has been hurt in the accidents thus far. The roundabout was built to service a new housing estate development. It has subsequently been fiercely criticised by locals, who are demanding that the council install rumble strips. The council has investigated. It believes that the roundabout’s new lighting had stopped functioning and that the issue has now been resolved.

However, some could argue that the roundabout is a typical sign of Britain’s increasingly inferior road network. There are a host of issues that, at best, infuriate drivers and, at worst, can cause serious damage to cars and those in them.

Potholes driving motorists potty

As many a swearing driver will attest to, potholes are public enemy number one. According to recent research, there is one pothole per 110 metres of road in Britain. These cost motorists £684 million a year in car repairs, with a pothole compensation claim being made every 17 minutes. Successful claims cost the government £2.3 million in 2016.

To tackle the pothole plague, the government has set aside £250 million for its Pothole Action Fund. However, the funding is a drop in the ocean according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which claims that £12 billion is needed to sort out Britain’s potholes. A recent report by Car Parts 4 Less highlighted the 10 worst afflicted roads:

Cottage Lane, Ormskirk

Liverpool Road (A57), Salford

Chester Road, Poynton

Topsham Road, Exeter

Bingley Relief Road (A650), Bradford

Dunstable Road, Luton

Dividy Road, Stoke-on-Trent

Hills Road, Cambridge

Stratford Road, Solihull

Garrett Lane, Wandsworth

Skid-happy highways

An investigation by the Department for Transport revealed that 26% of our A roads require “further investigation” because they offer inadequate skid resistance. The findings are the highest since records began back in 2007/2008. Some 11,000 vehicles skidded on dry roads and led to accidents in 2015.

AA president Edmund King told the Express newspaper,

“It means that, if a law-abiding driver is travelling within the speed limit and a child steps out, what may have been an avoidable accident could become a tragedy.”

Road signs driving us to distraction

The onus is on drivers to keep abreast of the Highway Code. However, our mass of road signs and their meanings are leaving two in five motorists flummoxed. Driver confusion can lead to sudden braking that can cause congestion and accidents. While many of us may pride ourselves on our knowledge of the rules of the road, it’s worth taking this test to see just how clued up you really are about the UK’s road signs.

The issue is being exacerbated because our roads have been flooded with too many unnecessary road signs, claim some critics. In 1993, there were 2.45 million signs in England; by 2013, this had increased to a staggering 4.57 million. Many believe that such prolific use of signs can lead to confusion and sudden, risky driving manoeuvres.

To tackle the issue, the government gave powers to councils in 2016 to rip down unneeded signs, “ensuring road signs that are used far longer than needed have a ‘remove by’ date; making sure traffic signs are visible on unlit roads; stopping temporary message signs from being cluttered with adverts and distracting logos.” The government believes that the move could “save £30 million in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.”

What needs to be done to sort out the dangers of the UK’s highways? Is the only solution more investment, and in the current economic climate, will that ever happen? Let us know your thoughts below.

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