Bad road signage putting drivers in danger, warns watchdog

Overgrown trees and substandard road signs are putting motorists in danger, according to an independent transport watchdog.

Transport Focus says too many of the country’s road signs are damaged, confusing or out of date, leading to stress, wrong turns and dangerous last-minute manoeuvres among drivers.

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It has now launched a campaign encouraging road users to report problems with signage across the 4,300 miles of motorway and A roads managed by Highways England.

The Sort My Sign campaign features an online tool for motorists to report problems, including those that are obscured, damaged or don’t give accurate or useful information.

Transport Focus says it will then pass on the information to Highways England to sort individual problems and push for changes in policy.

Making journeys safer

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “We want to hear from road users about signs and information that aren’t up to scratch. We’ll use what you say to press Highways England to make journeys easier and safer.

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“There is nothing more frustrating than missing your turnoff because the sign was hidden behind a tree or missing crucial information.

“While we have some of the safest roads there are still too many signs which are broken, confusing or out of date. If it’s not clear, it’s not safe.”

The Sort My Sign campaign aims to increase the usefulness and effectiveness of information on roads, including messages on electronic signs. This will allow more road users to make informed decisions in plenty of time, improving safety and reducing stress.

It is calling for Highways England to sort broken or inaccurate signs; provide better information during delays and unexpected disruption; review the existing standards for signs on motorway and major ‘A’ roads.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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The RAC has found that a fifth of drivers think poor road signage is the biggest problem on Britain’s roads.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “While it might be Britain’s ongoing problem with potholes that attracts most of the headlines, sadly they are not the only problem with our roads.

“RAC data shows that among drivers who think the condition of the roads has worsened in the last 12 months, around one in five say it’s actually poor signage visibility that’s the problem, with a similar proportion complaining about a lack of foliage management. So we warmly welcome the Sort My Sign initiative that allows motorists to quickly and easily report problems they spot, and hopefully get something done about them.

“As drivers we might be more dependent on sat navs for getting around than ever, but that’s no excuse for unclear, confusing or incomplete signage – in fact clear signs are vital to help many drivers navigate safely and confidently, especially in parts of the country that they don’t know so well.”