Posted: Sun 22nd Oct 2023

Drivers’ anger with poor state of local roads reaches highest level in nine years

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Oct 22nd, 2023

Growing dissatisfaction with the UK’s local road conditions is reaching alarming levels, with 49% of drivers highlighting it as their principal motoring concern.

This sentiment marks a peak since the RAC’s inaugural survey in 2015, as revealed in their annual Report on Motoring.

Previously, in 2021, the high of concerned drivers stood at 46%. Fuel cost was the second-largest worry, concerning 42% of the survey participants.

Older drivers, particularly those between the ages of 45 and 64, and those over 65, were most affected, with 55% and 59% respectively declaring local road conditions as their primary worry.

In a startling revelation, 67% of drivers observed a deterioration in the local roads they frequently use over the past year. This is a jump from the 60% recorded in 2022 and represents the largest annual increase since 2017.

Among the contributing factors to this decline, problems with road surfaces took the lead (97% of drivers), followed by faded road markings (61%), litter (35%), and obscured signage visibility (34%).

Disturbingly, 35% of respondents reported having to make sudden lane deviations to avoid potholes, endangering themselves and others on the road. 69% had to slow down considerably to navigate a pothole, while 37% chose to keep a longer distance from the vehicle in front to allow for more reaction time to deteriorating road surfaces.

While Britain’s motorways and high-speed dual carriageways fared better in public opinion compared to local roads, concerns still linger. 11% of drivers considered their conditions as a major concern, a rise from the 8% recorded in 2022.

Amongst the complaints for these major roads were worsening road surfaces (81%), faded lane markings (46%), roadside litter (39%), and poor signage visibility (28%).

The quality and frequency of road repairs remain a sticking point for many. A whopping 81% of drivers feel the road resurfacing standard is subpar, and another 81% believe they aren’t resurfaced often enough.

Maintenance-related disruptions also irked 74% of those surveyed, citing repeated roadworks on the same stretch or delayed completion of repair works.

This deterioration is occurring against a backdrop of financial challenges. The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) 2023 report highlights a persistent funding shortfall for local councils in England and Wales.

The report indicates a staggering £14 billion is now required to address the backlog in road maintenance, marking an 11% increase from the previous year.

Simon Williams, RAC head of policy, offered a possible solution, suggesting a ringfenced 2p from every litre of fuel over a five-year period to adequately fund councils for proper road maintenance.

He highlighted the imbalance in funding, stating major roads in England receive seven times the funds of local roads, despite the latter accounting for seven times more mileage.

Calling for a shift in the funding strategy, Williams added, “It is plain wrong that drivers who contribute billions in tax every year have to put up with roads that are so far from being fit for purpose.”

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