Drivers send councils a warning shot on persistent puddles, pools and ponds on Britain’s highways
Attempts to convince council-tax-paying motorists that ponds and lakes on UK roads this winter are a one-off event fail to hold water with more than two thirds of AA members.
While 68% of 23,700 AA-Populus survey respondents are prepared to accept that extreme weather has contributed to roads turning into watercourses, 67% blame councils for not maintaining drains well enough.
However, 37% of the sample feel strongly that road authorities have let them down. This compares with 23% who strongly argue that relentlessly bad weather is the reason why ponds and pools of water have replaced potholes as this winter’s main menace for drivers.
Disturbingly, the survey suggests that flooding on roads is now becoming accepted as part of the driving landscape in the UK. It finds that 71% of the AA members support the view (24% strongly) that “there are one or two notorious spots where big puddles develop on the road but everyone local knows about them and just deals with them”.
Even so, more than half of the drivers (51%) agree that heavy rains turn the roads around where they live into a perilous patchwork of ponds and puddles.
The AA concludes that a majority of its members are prepared to cut local authorities some slack due to the amount of water on roads this winter, but councils’ cards are marked if poor drainage persists in the future.
Consequently, the AA will carry out the same survey next winter to see if its members feel that the state of roads has improved or remains prone to flooding.
If they are well-known, why haven’t road authorities dealt with them – before an unwary non-local driver comes to grief
Edmund King, AA president
“Inevitably, after this winter’s appalling weather, there will be an enquiry into the resilience of the UK’s transport network. Part of that will have to include road drainage. The Pitt review of the flooding in the summer of 2007 found that there was a lack of data about drainage systems and who was responsible for them,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“It is worrying that nearly three quarters of AA members say that, when it rains heavily, they know of stretches of local road almost guaranteed to become water-logged. If they are well-known, why haven’t road authorities dealt with them – before an unwary non-local driver comes to grief.
“Most damning in the argument that road authorities let down drivers is the strength of response in areas that were relatively unaffected by extreme rainfall. Almost 48% of AA members across the North say that, when it rains, pools of water create a real menace to drivers and 69% agree that councils don’t seem to clear drains as well as they used to.”
There are one or two notorious spots where big puddles develop on the road but everyone local knows about them and deals with it:
When it rains heavily, the roads around where I live become pockmarked with pools of water creating a real driving menace:
(28 February 2014)
AA-Populus survey, conducted between 20-27 January 2014