Potholes are becoming such a large problem in the UK that nearly every road has one, meaning that more and more cars are being damaged each year. This has led to car insurance companies becoming concerned that they will eventually have to increase premiums for drivers who live in areas that are the worse affected, as the likelihood of them claiming on their policy is extremely high. Many motorists have therefore criticised their local councils and the Highways Agency for not fixing the roads in a timely manner, and even if they are fixed they are usually done so with bad quality materials.
Now we have heard that even car manufacturers are becoming affected by the pothole crisis in the UK, such as Honda who has had to build a whole new test track for their vehicles because the one they currently have is so much better than the state of the roads in the UK. The new track will therefore crack easily and be noisy to drive on so that Honda can see if their new vehicles are robust enough to handle the UKs roads. Strangely, Honda has also decided to include a roundabout on the track as well as signs in English in order to give the track more ‘authenticity’.
Pau Watters from the AA said that the fact that Honda has had to resort to this is a “sad indictment” of the British road system. He went on to add: “Unfortunately, it seems potholes are here to stay, so car manufacturers are right to invest in trying to prepare cars for the conditions here.” Meanwhile, a Honda spokesman said: “The road surfaces in continental Europe, especially in the North, are paved with hard material that does not absorb water. This is because, in severe winter, absorbed water in the material may freeze turn into ice and destruct the roads.”
“England does not tend to suffer with this severe winter, and so the surface is made with softer materials with many pores to absorb rain to prevent a slippery surface. As a result, UK roads have a rougher surface, which creates more road noise than other European roads. What Honda wanted to replicate in Takasu was this type of road.” It seems a shame that the state of the UK roads are leading to so many changes in the car industry, but at the same time it is good to see that manufacturers are trying to prevent damages caused by potholes for their future vehicles.