Britain’s decaying roads are putting lives at risk as drivers veer out of their lane to avoid pot holes, according to new research.
A poll of drivers found that of those who had drifted out of their own lane on a single-carriageway, three-quarters did so to avoid a damaged road surface.
However, distractions caused by in-car technology, as well as drivers trying to take a “racing line” were also found to be to blame for many motorists drifting out of lane.
The survey by Select Car Leasing found that 23 per cent of motorists had noticed an increase in other drivers drifting in their lane or crossing the lane divider and 21 per cent admitted to having done it themselves.
It comes after data revealed that almost one million pot holes were reported to councils in 2017/18.
While the majority of cases involved motorists swerving to avoid pot holes, puddles or other obstructions in the road, close to a fifth (17 per cent) said that they risked a head-on collision to make their journey quicker.
Mark Tongue, company director of Select Car Leasing, commented: “When you think of ‘road hogging’, you immediately think of those who sit in the middle lane of the motorway, causing a backlog and mayhem behind them.
“But our research shows a growing trend for motorists to also hog lanes on single carriageways. By its very nature it’s incredibly dangerous to end up on the wrong side of the road with a flow of traffic coming towards you.
“Whether it’s pot holes, cutting the corner, trying to take a ‘racing line’, or pure laziness, there’s never an excuse to drift from your side of the road unless it’s a planned overtaking manoeuvre.”
As well as road defects and racing lines, the survey found that 14 per cent of those who had drifted into the oncoming lane had been distracted by in-car technology such as stereos and navigation systems. Worryingly, 10 per cent said they had experienced a moment of “micro-sleep” that led to a loss of control.
Mr Tongue adds: “You might think you’re being clever by taking a better line, or that a momentary lapse won’t matter, but ask the emergency services and they’ll tell you these bad driving habits can have devastating effects.”
“We’d urge motorists to make all efforts to stay on their own side of the road to reduce the risk of collision.”
Driving on the wrong side of the road is not a specific offence but if you are caught doing it police could consider it careless or even dangerous driving.
Driving without due care and attention usually carries a £100 fixed penalty notice and three points on your licence but if you’re taken to court it can rise to £5,000 and nine points or disqualification.
If your driving is deemed dangerous you will be taken to court where you can face an unlimited fine, a driving ban and imprisonment.