RICK JACKSON: Potholed roads are like a patchwork made by a five-year-old

Why do we have the worst quality roads in Western Europe and why do we put up with it?

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th March 2018, 7:00 pm
Our roads are the worst in Europe, says Rick
Our roads are the worst in Europe, says Rick

If you’ve driven in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, I could go on, you’ve no doubt marvelled at the magic carpet ride your car has as you speed to your destination.

Even their A and B roads are smoother. Where there have been roadworks the patches don’t seem to bash your car the same way as they do in the UK.

It’s always noticeable when you drive off the ferry here and are instantly greeted with bumps, lumps, undulations and potholes what didn’t seem to exist on the continent.

What a job. Rick's bus being washed

Why is it most roads here resemble a patchwork duvet put together by a five-year-old?

Rough surfaces, poor patchwork, cracks, lumps. I’m not talking about old roads either. New surfaces still aren’t as flat and true as abroad.

A prime example is at Lee-on-the-Solent. A new junction is being built by Daedalus, just past the hovercraft museum. The finished quality of this road is poor to say the least.

It is lumpy and there are what can only be described as pothole-like drops around all the manhole covers, and at the junction with Crofton Avenue, a huge puddle forms when it rains, it’s that uneven.

What a job. Rick's bus being washed

Why are the roads of our continental cousins so superior to ours? There must be a reason. And there is, money and war.

French roads were awful until they joined the Common Market, that’s why French cars traditionally have great suspension. They used EEC money to completely modernise their roads. West Germany received American cash to rebuild its infrastructure after the Second World War.

Sadly, in poor old Blighty, like our railways, we had to pay for everything ourselves, no one helped us.

In Holland they pay way more road tax, and tolls fill the highways’ authorities coffers throughout the rest of Europe.

So maybe I will curse less when my car judders in another pothole in the knowledge we pay less tax, our industry isn’t corrupt and we won’t go on strike if we don’t have a 15-minute tea break.


I’m still in a bit of disbelief over the actions of former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher.

Spitting in someone’s face is the lowest of the low, but at a 14-year-old in a car next to yours is unforgivable.

Saying he was ‘goaded’ is pathetic. Grow up man, you received worst sledging at the hands of Gary Neville and you didn’t spit at him.

It matters not who was filming while driving, the ‘goading’ lasted 30 seconds before the phlegm assault.

This shows how these pampered millionaires view we commoners and for Sky not to sack him speaks volumes about how they view us.

Gary Lineker’s halo now shines even brighter.


My bus gets it’s first outing of 2018 on Sunday. I’m taking her to Winchester for a vintage running day.

My bus is a 1973 double decker which will carry 70 people and has a tremendous 11-itre diesel engine!

After disembarking the Isle of Wight ferry, we will make our way through Portsmouth and Fareham just like similar buses did through the ’70s and ’80s.

She’s been inactive through the winter months, so this week I’ve tinkered with the engine and given her a wash, myself, by hand.

That took ages. As cold water ran down my arms and as I aimed the brush at the top deck, I wondered how much the nearest hand car-wash place would want to do it?