Italians devise clever way of highlighting local authorities' shame

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As we all know, a combination of cold weather and laughably bad British road building has left the nation's highways littered with potholes.

Generally these are nothing worse than an uncomfortable nuisance, but given enough ice, water, time and pressure, and the common pothole can become a yawning chasm in the tarmac.

Almost indistinguishable from its smaller brethren, the megahole sits in the road waiting to snare the front wheel of each and every unsuspecting motorist who isn't concentrating with the intensity of Lewis Hamilton.

Rather than waiting for the authorities to repair these moon craters, two students at the Milan Polytechnic university in Italy have come up with the idea of brightly colouring a lower layer of asphalt so that a pothole would be easier to spot and therefore dodge.

Domenico Diego and Cristina Corradini have dubbed their plan the ''Street Safe Initiative'' and plan to test it in a small town outside Milan later in the year to see if it proves cost effective.

Critics of the scheme suggest that it isn't practical and would require a significant change in the manufacturing process used to produce bituminous coating that binds tarmac together, but we do like the idea that a road has an inbuilt system to warn drivers before shattering the suspension of their pride and joy.

Of course the real street safe initiative would be building a road network which wasn't reduced to Swiss cheese every time we had a snow flurry, but apparently that technological advance is the civil engineering equivalent of a manned spaceflight to Mars or cold nuclear fusion.