Councils 'should cut back foliage to make drivers safer'

23 Jul 2019

Councils 'should cut back foliage to make drivers safer'

Local authorities have been urged to tackle the problem of overgrown foliage obstructing road signs, with one organisation warning it is putting drivers at risk.

Breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist said overhanging trees and bushes are a menace at this time of year, but could potentially be dangerous.

Road safety officer Neil Worth pointed out that road signs are essential in providing orders and direction for motorists, who base their actions around them.

However, if the drivers are unable to see the signs, their ability to make safe decisions on the roads is compromised and they may make manoeuvres that endanger them and other people.

"In the interests of road safety, we are calling on local authorities to organise some far-reaching cutbacks of trees, bushes and branches, so that speed limit and other signs are made as clear as possible to everyone using their roads," Mr Worth commented.

GEM also urged motorists to report any obscured road signs to their local councils as a matter of urgency, as they can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Where foliage is making it difficult to see speed limit signage, drivers were reminded that the limit is typically 30mph on roads with street lighting.

This news comes after Transport Focus found earlier this year that 17 per cent of drivers admitted to having made a 'potentially unsafe' move on the motorway because the junction number they were looking for was obscured.

Of those who said they had experienced difficulties with junction numbers, 47 per cent said overgrown vegetation was the problem, with swerving across lanes and even reversing up the carriageway among the measures motorists had taken.

Highways England was also urged to tackle overgrown foliage and redraw motorway signage as a result.