Highways authorities and landowners need to help tackle the ‘menace’ of road signs being obscured by hedges, according to a leading road safety organisation.
GEM Motoring Assist has said that blocked road signs are ‘at best’ a nuisance for drivers, but could be misleading and dangerous at their worst.
The Highways Act 1980 (Section 154) states that landowners must protect the safety of road users by maintaining roadside hedges and trees. Though the bird nesting season usually stops any tree cutting from happening until after August, this doesn’t apply to a tree or hedgerow overhanging a highway and blocking the view of drivers.
Neil Worth, GEM chief executive, 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.”
GEM has added that any driver who finds a road sign that is obscured by foliage should report it to the ‘appropriate local authority’.
Worth added: “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.”