Should there be a Pothole Alert highway sign?

We’ve all been there – had hot coffee splashed all over us or had our bones jarred by an unexpected pothole. In some of our cities, the roadways are nearly half and half relatively smooth roadway as opposed to dips, bumps and potholes. Then the trucks repairing them are about as good for traffic flow as the eroded asphalt gaps are for the suspension of your car – and so it goes.

Change channels to the United Kingdom and auto insurance comparison site is championing a road sign to alert drivers to these ubiquitous hazards. It has been developed in accordance with guidelines set down by the British Department of Transportation.
The UK has over two million potholes in its roadway system and it would take local councils over 11 years to repair them all – of course millions more would show up over 11 years.

"Although repairing these roads is obviously the long term solution, something needs to be done now," said Mike Hoban, chief marketing officer at “Currently the UK's road signs include warnings for wild horses, wild animals, cattle and even toads, but potholes aren't considered worthy enough? A pothole road sign is a vital step in preventing accidents and reducing insurance claims whilst road maintenance continues."

The creation of the sign was inspired by local pothole activist Ted Relf, a plumber from Kent, who made British national headlines during April 2010 after his homemade pothole warning sign was removed by the local council.

"We all moan about potholes and now we have the chance to do something about them,” Relf said. “I created my own pothole sign last year because I was concerned for the safety of drivers on my road. I fully support the introduction of an official pothole road sign and urge the nation to sign the petition at"

The pothole road sign is the brainchild of Phil Baines from Central St Martins, University of the Arts London. Baines, a designer and signage expert, stated: "Warning road signs are there as a safety measure to warn drivers of potential dangers, and potholes certainly fall within that category. Given the scale of the current problem I would welcome a specific pothole sign being added to the Traffic Sign Manual."

Back in America, perhaps this is something we should consider doing about this constant source of driver and passenger frustration. The disturbing reality is people on scooters can be seriously injured by an overlooked pothole, as someone we know personally was just last year.

Certainly there are places where, even though the highways are patched every year, the potholes are seasonally recurring, as they tend to be on Monarch Pass, for example. Perhaps we need a “Potholes Likely in Spring” sign? Or should we just post “Road Damage” signs every two miles on some of our roads.

Then again if there were signs warning you of potholes, would the department of transportation ever fix them?

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