Potholes: From Road Menaces To Potential Safety Feature For Trucks

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Despite people having constant battles with potholes while driving, data shows these initial road problems might hold the key to limit accidents for vehicles.

 

The number of potholes in the United Kingdom are once again on the rise with more than half a million reported from 81 councils in the 2021/22 financial year, according to Liberal Democrats FOI requests.

Despite this figure, there is a surprising correlation emerged between the decrease of HGV accidents, the increase of HGV vehicles and this uptick in pothole cases.

Here are the intriguing connections about potholes enhancing truck safety.

Decrease in HGV Collisions: The Influence of Safety Features

Recent GOV.UK data shows there were over 511,000 HGV vehicles licensed last year, up from 420,900 in 1994. However, in a study around HGV collisions, the data showed there were only 3,549 accidents in 2022. This decrease in HGV collisions can be attributed to the integration of safety features in vehicles. For instance, the introduction of emergency brake systems in 2008, capable of detecting stationary traffic and issuing warnings, led to a significant reduction of over 15% in HGV accidents the following year, according to the AA.

Moreover, since seatbelts became a legal requirement in 1983, an estimated 50 million lives have been saved, as reported by WeBuyAnyCar. Putting all this information together, could potholes potentially be an unrecognised safety feature for trucks?

Potholes and Reduced Speed: Partners in Road Safety

Surprisingly, potholes play a role in road safety by contributing to reduced speeds. Recent GOV.UK data indicates a significant drop in speed-related accidents, with only 2,572 incidents reported compared to 5,571 incidents five years ago. Drivers have no choice but to adhere to or drive below speed limits due to the potential tire damage caused by potholes.

Total loss gap insurance data reveals that out of the 40 million tires fitted on vehicles annually, approximately 30 million are replacements. Nevertheless, the incidence of tire changes resulting from pothole-related damage seems to be diminishing, with RAC data showing a 50% drop in reported pothole breakdowns since 2010, suggesting an overall improvement in road conditions.

Involvement of Trucks: The Connection Unravelled

Truck drivers, who frequently encounter potholes during their cross-country journeys, experience a reduction in average speed, leading to a decrease in reported accidents.

This decline in accidents could also explain the decrease in personal injury collisions. Data indicates that in 2021, only 3,549 HGV drivers sustained serious injuries, a figure more than five times lower than the recorded figure in 1979. Additionally, potholes help prevent reckless overtaking by impatient drivers. Due to their heavy loads, HGV vehicles usually travel at lower speeds, causing multiple vehicles to attempt overtaking, which can potentially lead to hazards.

Craig Hoodless, notable truck driver from Carlisle, says it’s driver’s frustration that causes dangers on the road. Overtaking isn’t the problem, it’s the drivers behind the wheel that cause these accidents. By displaying reckless behaviour while overtaking, like tailgating, can endanger the safety of everyone on the road. Despite truck drivers like myself that have to stick to a 56mph speed limit, it’s crucial for all drivers to prioritise responsible driving practices to limit accidents on our roads.”

Potholes act as deterrents in this case, promoting safer driving and reducing erratic behaviour.

Potholes Across the UK

Certain regions in the UK have experienced a higher prevalence of potholes than others. According to RAC data, Derbyshire had the highest number of potholes last year, with over 90,000 reported in the region alone, surpassing the second-highest count in Northumberland by more than 20,000. The lowest rank on the list is East Sussex, which had 13,081 potholes recorded last year. Based on the data presented above, it can be inferred that Derbyshire has a lower occurrence of accidents due to the abundance of potholes, while East Sussex experiences a higher number of driving accidents due to the scarcity of potholes.The completed list of the most amount of potholes per region is listed below:

Rank Region Amount of potholes
1 Derbyshire 90,596
2 Lancashire 67,439
3 Northumberland 51,703
4 Surrey 43,191
5 Cornwall 24,191
6 North Yorkshire 22,094
7 West Sussex 21,785
8 Staffordshire 20,764
9 Somerset 19,299
10 East Sussex 13,081
 

 

Full table and data can be found here.

 

According to the data, it is evident that Newham has the longest wait time for pothole repairs, with their council taking approximately 56 days to complete the task. In contrast, Suffolk ranks at the bottom of this list, waiting approximately 26.9 days for pothole repairs. This significant difference suggests that the number of accidents in Newham could potentially be lower than those in Suffolk, as the councils in Newham take considerably longer to address potholes in their region. The table about the top 10 longest waiting times per region for a pothole to be fixed is listed below:

Rank Region Days waited
1 Newham 56 days
2 Lambeth 50 days
3 Stoke-On-Trent 48 days
4 Norfolk 39.93 days
5 Northeast Lincolnshire 34 days
6 Westminster 30 days
7 Southampton 29.95 days
8 West Sussex 29.66 days
9 Hammersmith & Fulham 28 days
10 Suffolk 26.9 days
 

 

Full table and data can be found here.

Mac’s Trucks: Leading the Way

Despite the initial controversy surrounding potholes, there is a perspective in which they can enhance vehicle safety. One practical way to address this issue is by investing in a new HGV truck from Mac’s Trucks. Mac’s Trucks, a renowned commercial truck dealer based in the Huddersfield area, specialises in high-quality trucks, including tippers, tipper grabs, beavertails and curtainsiders. By purchasing a high-quality truck from a reputable dealer, you can equip yourself with a vehicle that is designed to withstand challenging road conditions, including potholes.

The unexpected positive impact of potholes on reducing speeds and promoting safer driving conditions for trucks cannot be overlooked. When you buy a new HGV truck from Mac’s Trucks, you can have confidence that you’re getting a reliable and durable vehicle that can handle the rigors of the road, including encounters with potholes.

However, it’s important to remember that while potholes can inadvertently contribute to safer driving conditions, it remains crucial to prioritise the maintenance of truck regulations to ensure the overall well-being of all road users. By adhering to proper maintenance and safety protocols, in addition to investing in a new HGV truck from Mac’s Trucks, you can optimise your driving experience and contribute to road safety for everyone.

Methodology

We used figures from the GOV.UK that revealed multiple road traffic statistic data throughout the years.

Firstly, our SEO agency found the recent figures about the amount of HGV’s in the UK in the ‘Vehicles at the end of the quarter by licence status and body type: Great Britain and United Kingdom’ section and recognised an increase over time.

We then compared that to the amount of HGV collisions, that was found on the ‘Casualties and casualty rates, by road user type and age group, since 1979’ section, and it went down over the same amount of time. We worked this out by looking at the number of vehicles from every quarter of the year and found an average amount of all of those.

Also, the Liberal Democrats FOI request shown the amount of potholes that were reported from 81 councils in the UK. This shows the rise of potholes compared to 5 years before.

We then looked at the safety feature information from sites like AA and WeBuyAnyCar and compared that to the HGV collisions to see any significant drops in accidents that could be due to the implementation of the feature.

Then found GOV.UK’s data about how speed related deaths have reduced by looking in the ‘Vehicles involved in reported accidents where exceeding the speed limit was reported as a contributory factor by vehicle type and severity of accident’ section. Also, link to how potholes make people slow down due to tyre changes, where Total Loss Gap Insurance reveals most tyres fitted are replacement ones.

From the RAC data, we have worked out the massive drop in tyre changes caused by potholes by looking at the graph’s peak (2010) and the recent data. We recognised that there has been a near 50% decrease because it was a 350% chance in 2010 compared to a 171% now.

We found out common hotspots for potholes across the UK, using data from the RAC and the AA in found these highlighted areas.

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