AXA Insurance

April 17, 2013 08:08 ET

Motorists Unhappy With 'Patched Up' Britain

AXA motor insurance findings slam UK's road network for its poor road surfaces and lack of drainage

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - April 17, 2013) - The annual AXA Motoring Census report today revealed that one in three UK motorists (38 per cent) believe the state of Britain's roads is unacceptable, with just three per cent revealing that they believe the standard of roads to be 'excellent'.

The majority of those who criticised Britain's roads placed blame for poor conditions on the unhealthy tendency to use quick-fix measures (68 per cent) to patch up our roads, rather than repairing for the long-term. Half (51 per cent) were frustrated by excessive delays to vital repair work. Motorists who took part in the Census highlighted general poor road surfaces (78 per cent) but also significant drainage problems (44 per cent) on Britain's roads following the wet weather of 2012.

These damning results come despite the Government's extended funding commitment to the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP). The Government may have committed to the HMEP priority of getting it "Right First Time", but it seems that the public is not yet seeing this principle being put into practice.

Basic road maintenance issues were also high on the agenda with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of motorists highlighting the diminishing road markings and 22 per cent complaining of poor lighting on Britain's roads. Both of these elements are vital to motorist and pedestrian safety.

Amanda Edwards, from AXA car insurance commented: "British motorists are clearly unhappy with the poor state of our roads. With the backlog of repairs to UK roads estimated to require £13 billion of investment, it is not surprising that drivers are noticing the repercussions."

The report went on to highlight some key findings in the worst-affected areas. Road conditions were worst in Scotland, where just 13 per cent of those surveyed were happy with the state of roads. However, even in London which had the highest rate of motorist satisfaction, only a quarter of respondents considered the roads to be good - while 31 per cent actively described them as poor.

Respondents from the East Midlands also reported poor surfacing (90%) and roads becoming submerged by large puddles (52%). As both Scotland and the East Midlands have recently suffered extreme weather and flooding, it appears that British roads are currently ill equipped to withstand harsh winters and extreme weather conditions.

Top five road maintenance gripes for UK motorists:

Ranking Issue Percentage (%)
1 Pot holes 87
2 Poorly surfaced roads 78
3 Poor drainage 44
4 Poor road markings 27
5 Poorly lit roads 22

In almost every region of the UK, potholes continue to be the most prevalent problem. More than 90 per cent cited potholes as a problem in Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire, the South East and Northern Ireland. Wales was the only exception, where a greater percentage (75 per cent) attributed their dissatisfaction to poorly surfaced roads instead. However, a significant 73 per cent of Welsh drivers still recognised potholes as a factor of poor road conditions.

Edwards commented on the survey results: "Potholes alone cost the UK's drivers millions of pounds each year in car and tyre repairs. Furthermore, poorly managed road networks can contribute to an increased risk of accident and threat to motorist and pedestrians alike. We find it staggering that so many motorists have highlighted issues surrounding poor road markings and lighting - two key aspects of helping to avoid accidents."

Younger drivers aged 18-24 were most likely to judge roads to be good or excellent (27 per cent), while 45-54 year olds were most likely to criticise the condition of Britain's roads. However, at every age category a greater number of motorists reported roads to be poor or very poor than those who reviewed them positively.

(1) RoSPA research,

About the research: Research carried out by OnePoll in November 2012 among 2,000 UK motorists.

About AXA

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