British roads are infamous for their hard surfaces and, well, potholes. To design automobiles to withstand UK’s unique road surfaces, Honda car engineers knew they needed to test drive their cars in the same kind of surfaces – or at least as close to it as possible. And so the Japanese automobile giant has created a 6.8 kilometer track to replicate the rough and uneven surface of the UK‘s roads.
Honda engineers felt that the roads in Japan are much too smooth to simulate for driving conditions in England. Honda officials said that British roads absorb a lot more rainfall than the harder materials used in continental Europe. And so British test track at the Takasu Center in Hokkaido was dreamed up and eventually created. British road signs were added for detail and added realism. Honda, recently recognized by top UK automobile magazine “What Car?” as the most “pothole-proof” car brand, says that it is committed to creating cars that will withstand England’s demanding road environment. Honda’s engineers even pointed out another challenge posed by UK roads that they plan to incorporate into their testing variables in the near future – UK’s roundabouts. “In certain rural UK areas, roundabouts create a situation where high stopping power, agile acceleration response and high maneuverability is required,’ said Honda’s spokesman. “There is no such situation in Japan because there are hardly any roundabouts.”
Paul Watters, head of road policy at the British Automobile Association, said that it was not surprising for auto manufacturers to start testing for UK roads, adding that the potholes marked a lot of roads in the country. “A poll we took of 22,827 people in January this year found a third of motorists had experienced pothole damage in the last two years – and it was worse in Scotland where 44 per cent had,” he said. Opinions are mostly pointing towards the local governments getting enough funding to make sure that their roads are in good shape. British weather sees some of the highest amounts of rainfall throughout the year, and potholes will sadly continue to be an issue unless a better solution is presented for UK road-building moving forward.