Sending the Wrong Signal: Road Signage Needs to Improve

NatRoad is calling for a renewed focus on road safety that deals with growing problems around road signs.

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The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is calling for a renewed focus on road safety that deals with growing problems around road signs.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said “NatRoad has seen an increase in member complaints about poor road signage. We are calling on local, state and the federal governments to develop better and more consistent road signage. Signs must be properly located so they give drivers sufficient warning in advance of, and immediately before, any hazards or decision points. An update of and better, consistent adoption of Schedule 2 of the Australian Road Rules should be undertaken by road agencies immediately.

“The Australian Road Rules 2012 provide a signage template that has resulted in a degree of uniformity of road law throughout Australia. But while many road rules are the same throughout Australia, there are differences between jurisdictions and matters that are not covered by the road rules.

“Members are telling us that with the return of many light vehicles to the regular commute, the issue of poor road geometry and inadequate signage are coming to the fore. Comments received are that urban design in Australia is woefully lagging having grown by default rather than timely forward planning, especially reflected in the way that tolled roads have been developed and operated.

“In another largely unplanned development, increasingly some areas are designated ‘pedestrian friendly’ with reduced vehicle speeds. In these instances, there needs to be adequate planning of service roads to allow services, maintenance and supplies into those areas by heavy vehicles. Separating pedestrians and vehicles is always better than lowering speed limits.

“In addition, the widespread floods in Australia at present means that resources will need to be applied to restoring damaged or lost road signs. This might seem a low priority, but it is in fact a high priority given the direct connection between adequate signage and road safety. This consideration of signage in particular flood affected areas should go hand in hand with increased maintenance disciplines. The maintenance issue that is most prevalent is the trimming of trees and other vegetation. Road agencies should ensure that maintenance contractors and workers regularly trim vegetation so that drivers are able to see and read road signs from a distance that gives them time to properly react.

“NatRoad underlines that unless signage is effective, drivers won’t be able to properly react to signage content and directions, something that has the potential to endanger all road users.