Poor road design, congestion and sub-par surface conditions can take the shine off our day-to-day driving pleasure. Potholes, blind spots and under-capacity highways can all make driving less fun, more costly, and more dangerous.
But which are the most hated roads in the UK?
Potholes can damage tyre treads, wheels, suspension and steering components. They also make for a bumpy ride.
All in all they're bad news in terms of repair costs and safety.
Noting the driving public's distaste for potholes, the Chancellor earmarked a £2.5 billion pothole fund last year, but it will take some time to address all the nation’s road defects - and all the time more potholes are appearing. The issue is literally a black hole.
The worst road in the country for potholes is Mellor Brook Bypass in Balderstone, Lancashire. 545 complaints were received about the road's condition in one year.
The second most loathed pothole highway is Seven Hills Road in Elmbridge, Surrey, which attracted 216 complaints.
Wilshire’s otherwise bucolic A345 bagged the third spot, inspiring 208 complaints.
Top ten most potholed roads in the UK
- Mellor Brook Bypass at Balderstone in Lancashire - 545 complaints
- Seven Hills Road in Elmbridge, Surrey - 216 complaints
- A345 in Wiltshire - 208 complaints
- Selsfield Road in West Hoathly, West Sussex- 200 complaints
- Main Road in Moulton, Cheshire - 185 complaints
- A595 in Cumbria - 171 complaints
- Attercliffe Road in Sheffield - 169 complaints
- A38 Kingsbury Road in Birmingham - 169 complaints
- Richmond Avenue in Telford, Shropshire - 168 complaints
- Unnamed stretch of road between West Serstone and Down St Mary near Crediton in Devon - 162 complaints
The convergence of multiple roads can put any driver on edge. Add lots of signs, the need to get in the correct lane and looming flyovers, and you have the recipe for a very stressful driving experience.
It's impossible to quantify which junction is most confusing - not least because the UK has some real doozies. But here are startrescue.co.uk's least favourite:
Spaghetti Junction: Gravelly Hill Interchange, Birmingham
Here Junction 6 of the M6 motorway joins the A38(M) Aston Expressway. 30 acres comprising 18 routes and 2.5 miles of slip roads,
Gravelly Hill was built over 5 different levels and rises to 80ft in some locations.
In order to accommodate three canals, two railway lines and two rivers, road engineers had to lift 13.5 miles of the Queen's Highway into the air, necessitating 559 concrete columns.
50 years after its completion, Spaghetti Junction remains one of our most bamboozling intersections.
Even the name’s confusing. This intersection was never meant to be such a brain-melter, but tight budgets at the time resulted in a junction that doesn't quite meet road users' needs.
The result is this - two motorways and three dual carriageways in a jumble that often causes drivers to head off in the wrong direction.
This is why the phrase “all roads lead to Liverpool” never caught on.
There's more than a hint of irony in this intersection's name.
A host of feeder roads converge on five roundabouts centred around, you guessed it, a roundabout.
The simple act of approaching the Magic Roundabout can give the calmest driver palpitations, such is the sight of this "vast skidpan of tarmac".
It's all the more challenging because you have the option of going against the normal roundabout flow - depending on which is the most direct route to your exit.
Points of conflict are plentiful. It's easily the most noteworthy thing about Swindon.
Sadly, hundreds of people die on our roads each year - although thankfully the figure has halved from 3,160 in 2005 to 1,580 in 2020.
The most dangerous route in the country is the infamous Cat and Fiddle road — the A537 — traversing the Peak District National Park between Cheshire and Derbyshire.
Sharp bends and steep falls from the carriageway make this a perilous undertaking.
Motorcyclists are particularly at risk here, with two thirds of deaths and serious injuries involving two-wheelers.
The A43 between Towcester and Corby is another dangerous route, especially as regards heavy goods vehicles.
Various speed limits mean car drivers are often stuck behind HGVs, tempting them to overtake - sometimes with fatal consequences.
Samuel Johnson famously said, "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life". But he was never gridlocked on the A406 North Circular from Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane.
Indeed, London has five of the top 10 most congested roads, according to data firm Inrix.
Based on 2019 data the most congested UK roads are:
- A406 North Circular Road in London from Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane
- A23 Brixton Road in London from Kennington to Thornton Road
- Kingsway/Strand/Cannon Street in London from Russell Square to Monument
- Leeds Road/Saltaire Rd from Harrogate Road to Bradford Road in Leeds
- A34 Stratford Road from Highfield Road to Highgate Middleway in Birmingham
- A406 North Circular Road from East Finchley to Edmonton
- A1203 The Highway from Canary Wharf to the Tower of London
- Huddersfield Road/Leeds Rd from Dewsbury to Huddersfield
- Bury New Road in Manchester from Higher Broughton to M60 (Outer Ring Road)
- Bramhall Lane South in Manchester from Bridge Lane to Stockport