Summer and our roads

Is the Summer Season bad for our roads?

Looking towards warmer weather it made us think is Summer as bad for our roads as Winter?

Well, we found, the answer depends on the material used to lay the roads. There are several types, some deal well with colder weather and others prefer warmer temperatures.

In the Uk, we have a climate that fluctuates, it can be freezing one week and then a barmy heat wave the next. Which is not good for the guys with the responsibility of deciding which materials to use, and global warming just isn’t helping! We almost need a road for Summer and a road for Winter.

Summer can melt our roads, last Summer some part of the UK such as Manchester saw their roads start to melt! That is the main problem caused by heat.

Heating and contracting through the day/night cycle can also cause roads to crack.

At present time the warmer weather presents less of a threat to our roads than the Wintery weather. Something to think about next time you’ve got the AC on full blast!

You know whatever the weather here in the Uk we’ll moan! Well, guess our roads are the same they don’t like it too cold or too hot!

Driven to Distraction

10 Road Safety Facts

A recent blog post of ours highlighted that “when the M1 was first opened on the 2nd of November 1959; it was a death trap, with no noted speed limit, crash barriers, central reservation or even lighting!” Since then we’ve had a few suggestions of safety facts that we thought we’d share. – UK Road Facts

  • The earliest recorded use of the phrase “road safety” was in 1906 in a book by Henry C Pearson entitled Rubber Tires And All About Them.
  • Motorists drive less closely to oncoming cars on roads without centre-line markings.
  • Up to 70 percent of people on urban roads are looking for a parking spot, and one in five urban crashes is related to a search for parking.
  • More than 80 percent of traffic in a typical city runs on 10 percent of the roads. So trucks are not to blame for your delay into work in the morning
  • The average driver looks away from the road for .06 seconds every 3.4 seconds. Which means your not looking at the road for 17 of your journey!
  • The UK driving test only has about a 50 pass rate!
  • According to LV= Almost one in six UK motorists has been caught speeding in the last five years.
  • 92 of us consider ourselves good drivers. But 65 of us admit to breaking the 70mph speed limit on Motorways and A roads!
  •  if you’re travelling at 70mph and need to slow the car will travel about 21 metres in less than a second before you can even hit the brakes.
  • Pedestrian crossings were introduced in 1934. Their black-and-white stripes were not added until in 1951.

UK Road Facts

15 Facts About The Uk's Road Network

Image of a Motorway at dusk

The Uk’s network is an undervalued infrastructure network that stretches from coast to coast. But did you know these 15 facts about it?

  • Without the invention of Tarmac, we would all still be driving on dirt roads. Getting from A to B would take far longer and would be more dangerous. Edgar Hooley invested Tarmac in the early 1900’s after noticing a smooth area of the road next to an ironworks, he asked the workers what had happened and was told a barrel of tar had burst. The following year he patented the heating of tar and adding stones to make Tarmac.
  • Watford Gap Was the Uk’s first service station, this opened a year after the M6 did and the same day the M1 did. It was so popular that families from across the country would visit them for a day out. Is this what we did before we had computers?
  • The first Tarmac road was built in Nottingham in 1902.
  • The Ridgeway is technically the UK’s oldest roadway, it dates back over 5000 years. It’s believed to have been a trading route. (Good to see my hometown mentioned!)
  • The Cat and Fiddle Road, named after The Cat and Fiddle Inn on the road is the UK’s most dangerous. Running through Derby, Buxton, and Cheshire, this road is famous for its hairpin bends and sharp corners.
  • If you believe in ghosts, the M6 is apparently the most haunted road in the UK. Reported sightings include seeing legions of Roman soldiers marching along to deranged women screaming on the side of the road. Usually, these appear in the dead of night when drivers all alone on the road, but sometimes they pop up during the day as well. You have been warned!
  • The steepest road is in Cumbria with a gradient of  1 in 3 (about 33) it’s called Hardknott Pass. Despite it being used since Roman times it took years to be determined safe for motor vehicles.
  • The UK is blessed (or cursed) with lots of rude road names, some of which even contain swear words! But of all the rude names there are, nothing is more offensive than ‘Dumb Woman’s Lane’ in Rye. This sign might be construed as being rude today, but its history says otherwise. According to local myth, the lane was named ‘Dumb Woman’s Lane’ because a mute woman lived there. The story goes that her tongue was cut out by smugglers, to stop her telling people what she had seen them smuggle. In the past, they thought if you couldn’t speak it was thought you were dumb, hence the name.
  • The UK’s worst ever traffic jam to date was on the 5th of April in 1985 when there was a 40-mile hold up on the M1, which snaked all the way from junction 16 to 18, leaving hundreds of motorists trapped in their cars for hours.
  • Swindon’s Magic Roundabout is apparently the scariest roundabout in the UK. Coincidently because it is so confusing there are rarely any accidents because the traffic moves so slow!
  • Road safety has come a long way, When the M1 was first opened on the 2nd of November 1959, it had no speed limit, crash barriers, central reservation or even lighting!
  • Potholes account for a third of mechanical issues on UK roads, costing British motorists an estimated £2.8 billion each year.
  • The first traffic lights were manually operated. A gas-lit signal was put up in 1868 outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
  • According to the Department for Transport, if you lay out all the roads in the UK over 238,000 miles. it would stretch past the moon,
  • The number of petrol stations across the road network is at a 50-year low. There are now around 8,600 stations, down from around 37,000 in 1970. Probably something you don’t want to think about next time you’re running low!
  • There are around 35,760,901 vehicles currently on UK roads, which is roughly one car for every two people.

How does the cold effect our roads?

How does the winter weather affect our roads?

With the recent winter weather, you might have noticed an increased number of potholes is this down to the cold? What else does the winter weather do to our road infrastructure?

  • Freezing and thawing cycles

Repeated freezing and thawing of the road causes the road to become more brittle and therefore more prone to cracking. The salt they use during cold weather actually adds to the damage caused as it affects the surface.

  • Expansion makes cracks worse

Water expands as it freezes to become ice by about 9 of its volume. Remeber your geography lessons about weathering? Water gets into an existing crack, freezes expanding the crack and then thaws allowing more water in.Repeat the cycle a few times and that small crack is now a huge problem.

  • Is that dam same pothole year after year!

To repair a pothole properly, your local authority should use a high-quality patch and they do work when done properly. The problem is to work properly they need time.

Local authorities need to repair a road that is open to traffic, the repair and patch happen very quickly since traffic needs to be stopped or diverted.

Often, the only time that roads can be repaired is for a few hours overnight, when they can be closed. This is a problem because the patch is not allowed to properly settle and bond to the existing road surface. This is why you see damage in the same location year after year, the patch fails.

Sometimes the only way that pothole will completely be removed is when the road is completely relaid and given time to cure.

Snow Fun

Facts about gritting the road

During the recent snowy weather, we thought we’d look into Grit. Here are some facts you might not know about the stuff they use to keep the roads ice-free.

  • Is it grit or salt?

Although it’s commonly called grit, what is used on the roads is normally rock salt, which lowers the freezing point of moisture on the road surface, to stop ice forming. It can also melt existing snow and ice although this can take a while.

  • There’s a science to gritting!

You may think just stick it down but there are actually sensors local authorities use to decide when to send out the gritters. These sensors measure road temperature, and air temperature, rain, dew and salt levels. GPS mapping is used to predict areas to focus gritting on.

Ideally, grit needs to be laid onto an already wet road so it sticks otherwise passing traffic blows it off thanks to the air they displace.

  • Where does it come from?

Surprisingly it’s British. And no it’s not from the sea. It’s actually mined, there are 3 mines across the UK; Cheshire, Teesside or County Antrim (Northen Ireland).

It transported by rail or road to your local authorities depot.

Did you know the vast caverns left over from mining are the ideal place for storing archive documents? With low humidity, no water and no UV light.

  • Once and it’s done?

Surely you grit once and it’s done, right? Unfortunately not, road salt need’s to be constantly applied otherwise the salt gets diluted by the falling snow or rain and this raises the freezing temperature. The constant application of grit keeps the dilution of the salt at an ideal level.

  • Gritting priority.
You know local authorities don’t grit every street, what priority are roads gritted?
As you might have guessed, it’s the critical road network, Motorways and A roads as well as those used by public transport.
Links to hospitals and emergency services are also a priority.
Once the main network is gritted, roads to schools and old people’s homes are next.
  • It has limits

Even salt has its breaking, or rather freezing point, which is around minus 8-10 degrees, depending on the dilution of the solution. In these temperatures, roads will still ice over regardless of whether or not they’ve been gritted.

Did we miss any? let us know!

Motorway Facts

Top 10 Motorway Facts
Image of a Motorway at dusk

Here are our top 10 facts about the Uk’s motorway network.

  • The M6 is the longest Motorway in the UK measuring a total of 236 miles from Catthorpe, Leicestershire to the Scottish Border. We wouldn’t want to drive that in one go
  • The first Motorway opened on December 5, 1958. It now forms part of the M6.  When it opened it also hosted the first traffic jam when thousands flocked to Lancashire to drive the 8.5-mile trip on it.
  • When first built, the M25 was the world’s longest ring road, stretching for 118 miles around London. It’s now second to Berlin’s.
  • The M25 or London Orbital isn’t actually the M25 all the way around, there’s a short stretch over the Dartford crossing which is the A282 as this is a toll road.
  • The 70mph limit was imposed in 1965, after a new express service began running beside the M1 and some drivers tried to keep up with the train. We wonder what the top speed was then?
  • The M1 was Britain’s first full-length motorway, opening in December 1959. On its first day it carried 13,000 vehicles and more than 100 broke down in the first 10 miles.
  • The M1 was built to handle up to 14,000 vehicles a day. It now serves 10 times that number.
  • Over 94 billion vehicle miles of journeys take place on Britain’s motorway network every year. In the network, there are a total of 2,241 miles in Britain – 1,843 in England, 241 in Scotland, 88 in Wales and 69 in Northern Ireland.
  • The M62, is the country’s highest motorway, rising 1,222ft above sea level where it crosses Saddleworth Moor.
  • About a quarter of traffic delays are caused by accidents and 10 by roadworks. The remainder is due to the sheer volume of traffic. The average British motorist spends the equivalent of more than two weeks every year stuck in traffic! Ouch makes you not want to drive, we make this a time productive for our advertisers.

Get in touch if there’s any we should add

Any Questions?
contact us