Road safety charity calls for clearer signs

Breakdown and road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is calling on highways authorities and landowners to tackle the recurring menace of road signs obscured by foliage.

Obscured road signs are at best a nuisance for drivers, and at worst can be misleading and dangerous, according to GEM.

The Highways Act 1980 (Section 154) says landowners must protect the safety of road users by ensuring they maintain roadside hedges and trees.

The bird nesting and rearing season usually prohibits the cutting or trimming of trees until after August. However, any hedgerow or tree overhanging a highway and obstructing the view of drivers is not included within the restriction and should be cut back to improve road safety.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “Road signs provide vital instructions and information for drivers, who choose their speeds and actions based on what the signs tell them. If they can’t see the signs, then their ability to make safe decisions is compromised, especially if they’re on unfamiliar roads.

“Dealing with trees, branches and plants that hide traffic signs is a vital task, ensuring that speed limit and other signs are made as clear as possible to everyone using their roads.

“We therefore ask any farmer and landowners to do their bit for road safety and ensure any signs are clearly visible for road users, and that drivers have a clear and unobstructed view ahead, particularly at junctions and on the inside of bends.”