Rough Ride – A Bumpy Road Ahead for Driving Schools
Potholes can be a serious danger to motorists and an expensive inconvenience for driving instructors. With the economic downturn hitting the industry, instructors are tending to hold back from buying a new tuition vehicle to save money on loan repayments with many more older driving school cars on the road. Older cars with increasingly worn suspension systems and less noise reduction can have difficulty in dealing with a rough road surface. The added noise factor from damaged roads can be a hindrance when delivering verbal instructions and disturb a pupil’s concentration.
Learner drivers tend to stare straight ahead and not look into the distance far enough which often leads to an instructor grabbing the wheel in order to swerve and avoid potholes at the last instance. Tyre damage can be severe and holes difficult to see if it has been raining heavily and standing water hides them from view.
The dangers are even more acute for those taking motorcycle training in Nottingham. A slippery road surface combined with potholes can be a nightmare for motorcyclists and car drivers must give them enough room should they need to swerve to avoid potholes. Learner drivers should be taught about this and incorporate it in their driving plan.
Repairing a damaged road is twenty times more expensive than resurfacing it before the winter weather comes. Highways contractors are struggling to keep up with repairing the damage to road surfaces and slashed budgets are not helping the matter. Over four million potholes have been fixed in the last two years after the severe winter of 2010. The result of this being that roadworks are a constant feature of our roads which creates another set of problems when giving driving lessons. Lesson content and keeping lesson times are both adversely effected when roads are being resurfaced.
The Department of Transport has come under attack as a third of road markings on major roads are now substandard and not clearly visible. As the road surface erodes and potholes occur, the road markings wear away to the point where they are not clearly visible. This has an impact on learner drivers as the job of noticing and responding to road markings becomes all the more difficult and dangerous, particularly with regard to lane markings and give way lines, both of which can lead to serious consequences if not seen and acted upon. When road markings have yet to be replaced after resurfacing it is up to driving instructors to use their local knowledge and inform the pupil in advance of what road markings are missing so this can be included in their driving plan. If learner drivers are taught what to look for and how to plan ahead when driving on damaged road surfaces instructors can save a lot of stress and damage to their vehicle.