February 26, 2010

Potholes. Suddenly they’re everywhere. And most of us have nearly died because of them.

That’s according to “the UK’s leading driving based road safety association with around 60,000 members” GEM* (formerly known as the Guild of Experienced Motorists, formerly known as the Company of Veteran Motorists).

GEM, some of whose members are really not that old these days, reckon that half of all UK drivers have had a crash or near miss while swerving to avoid a pothole. While another half (the half who didn’t swerve?) have had their cars damaged by potholes.

Only five percent, however, they note tantalizingly, have made a claim for compensation against the relevant local authority. And whilst they’re quick enough to accuse local councils of not doing enough to fix them, 78% of motorists never bother reporting their location. The hypocrisy of it!

“Often motorists will not spot a pothole until it is too late,” a GEM person said, and then “they either swerve out of the way, which could result in a crash, or cause damage to their car.”

One solution might be to consult the interactive pothole map at www.potholes.co.uk/potholes before you set out on a car journey. Alternatively, you could download the new iPot iPhone app which rants like a demented co-pilot, advising when a hole is coming up, how deep, how wide, and how crumbly round the edges it is, and what evasive action you must take to avoid it.

*GEM Motoring Assist’s principal aims are “to improve safety for all road users through the sponsorship and initiation of accident prevention measures throughout the UK and to provide motoring and safety information to its own members, principally through its magazine “Good Motoring.” And possibly to make a couple of quid flogging breakdown cover.


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