Why Are There so Many Potholes on UK Roads?

Potholes are a headache and a serious problem for drivers in the UK, but what causes them and can anything be done to stop them taking over our roads? Damaging cars and causing injuries to cyclists, potholes have led to claims for damage being made as Britain's roads are falling apart.

Potholes, the holes we thud over in our vehicles or swerve around on our bicycles are blossoming on our roads with more potholes now than ever before. These deep potholes can cause punctures, bend of break wheels and suspension components, and can be incredibly dangerous for motorbikes, but what is it that has caused all these potholes in our roads?

What Causes Potholes?

When water penetrates tiny cracks in the road, cracks that have usually been caused by traffic can cause potholes. When this water freezes, it expands, widening the cracks. It’s when this melts and traffic thumps down on the space vacated by the ice that it smashes new potholes into the road surface.

However, where there are existing potholes, water will have away the loose material around the edges, therefore making it bigger. As the water causes super-saturated soil beneath the roads, this causes the top layer of the road to become weak, which means that when heavy vehicles roll over it that they are accelerating their growth, increasing its diameter and causing more degradation.

As a result of the recent ‘Beast from the East’, our roads have deteriorated even further as the ground appears to be crumbling around our wheels, causing a serious risk to the safety of users as well as vehicles also suffering damage. Roads are an integral part of our daily lives, yet they are getting worse as larger everyday traffics drives right through them.

How can we Avoid Potholes?

So how can you attempt to avoid these nasty potholes? Well your first line of pothole defence is proper tyre inflation. Low tyre pressure can cause bulges or blisters on the sidewalls of your tyres and can even dent the wheel. You should check your tyre pressure regularly, ensuring they have the correct pressure as this can help to minimise the potential damage caused by potholes.

Striking potholes at higher speeds can cause more damage to your vehicle, so reduce your speed within plenty of time and avoid any unnecessary braking. It is important that you try not to apply your brakes when driving over a pothole as when you brake it tilts the vehicle forward, placing more strain on the front suspension.

Finally, stating the obvious here, stay alert and keep a keen out for potholes so that you can avoid them safely wherever possible. This is easier to do if you’re driving cautiously and not tailgating as this will allow you to have more time to see and react to any potholes you’re approaching.

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