Five ways roadworks can ruin your day
Roadworks are the bane of any motorist’s life, ranking up there with drivers who fail to indicate, and rush hour traffic. While roadworks are necessary, as councils and the Highways Agency maintain the undoubtedly complex infrastructure of our roads, they are at best a bit of a nuisance and at worst, capable of ruining your whole day.
We’ve rounded up some of the main issues that motorists face when it comes to the dreaded ‘R’ word.
5. You’re left wondering why no work is being done…
There’s nothing more frustrating than crawling through a maze of traffic cones and temporary traffic lights when absolutely no work is being carried out. ‘Where are all the workers?’ ‘Where are all the hard hats?’ ‘Why is that digger not being used?’ These are all unanswerable questions that you’ll ask yourself fruitlessly. It’s incredibly annoying when your journey is disrupted for seemingly no reason, especially when you know that these problems won’t disappear anytime soon because the roadworks are scheduled to drag on, month after month.
What should I do?: Just grin and bear it, and remember that it probably isn’t the workers simply deciding not to turn up to work, it’s more likely to be a case of poor management and planning.
4. You’re sent down an unfamiliar route
Diversion signs are likely to send an anxious shiver down your spine as you prepare to embark on a potentially alien route, particularly if you’re in an unfamiliar area. This feeling of panic can be alleviated if you have a sat-nav but if you haven’t got one and you haven’t got time to pull over and look at a map, then you might find yourself entering a world of the unknown – a world full of nightmarish traffic cones, flashing lights and empty portable buildings.
What should I do?: It’s a good idea to do some research ahead of your journey to see if any roadworks are in place or planned, and which diversions are available. You should also invest in a sat-nav or an up-to-date map, especially if you’re driving around an area you’ve never been to before.
3. Your journey grinds down to a halt
Roadwork traffic jams are like normal traffic jams, except that you’ve something obvious to aim your anger towards instead of sitting, slowly fuming as you wonder what stupid thing someone has done up ahead to cause the tailbacks.
What should I do?: Again, research your route to see if there are any roadworks, and if there are, leave early so you can reach your destination on time. Try to make the most of your unavoidable snail’s pace by listening to an interesting podcast or audiobook or even a CD that you haven’t listened to in years. It’s vital to keep your cool in these situations and whatever you do, don’t take your frustration out on other drivers, who are in the same boat as you, or the people carrying out the works, who are simply doing their job.
2. Damage to exterior
Loose stones and other debris are unavoidable when roadworks are being carried out, and while they might seem small and insignificant, these small fragments can cause serious damage to the exterior of your car, including the windscreen and paintwork.
What should I do?: Check your vehicle’s exterior regularly to identify any chips or cracks – they might appear to be minor problems at first but if they’re not looked at and fixed they’re likely to worsen and result in costly repairs down the line.
1. Damage to steering and suspension
As you drive through roadworks you may encounter ramps where the Tarmac or upper layer of the road surface has been removed. This can damage both your vehicle’s steering and suspension systems, and the alignment of your tyres. Symptoms of steering and suspension or wheel alignment problems include uneven tyre wear, your vehicle pulling to one side as you’re driving, noise and vibration while cornering, and even loss of control of your vehicle.
What should I do?: Steering and suspension systems are key safety-related components of a vehicle and largely determine its handling. Regardless of road conditions, these systems should be checked regularly, while wheel alignment should be checked every 6,000 miles or six months.
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