How can someone sat behind a desk several miles away have an indirect influence on a road accident? Simple; they may have been the person who decided where the 'road markings' should be at the particular junction where the accident took place. The road markings were as much good as a handbrake on a canoe, because they were far too close to the junction and of very little use to the road users.


Take the examples shown.




The driver approaching who wants to go straight ahead keeps into the left (as instructed by the highway code) because he can't see any road markings.  When he gets very close to the roundabout he sees the road markings and finds himself in the wrong lane, along with several other vehicles, through no fault of his own. 




If the markings had been as in FIG 13, there shouldn't have been a problem, especially if a sign had also been erected.  If an accident takes place due to frustration, pig headedness, whatever the reason, may the person sat behind a desk several miles away have had an input into the accident?

Let's say we are on a two-way road with a 60mph limit.  If an advanced warning sign was placed 100 metres before the roundabout FIG 13, and further road markings and signs say 70 metres then 30 metres from the roundabout; this would make for safer driving and cause less hassle for everyone.  The cost for the extra set of road markings would be saved many times over due to fewer accidents.

Poor, inadequate or non-existent road markings, along with signs erected behind obstructions, are common practice.  These situations cause much frustration and waste a lot of time, which in turn can lead to poor driving.  Putting good signs and road markings in the correct places by using a little common sense can alleviate a lot of unnecessary problems.  Whilst I appreciate a lot of towns and rural areas are marked well and can be clearly followed, a great number leave a lot to be desired and there is room for significant improvement.


Another situation that can cause problems, are the hatch markings approaching right turns, which often start far too close to the junction.  Once again has the person in authority that decides where the lines should go, had an indirect input into driver behaviour at this type of junction? I feel the answer is quite possibly yes. 




The driver above doesn't like the driver behind him pushing him to get out of the way.

Is there a book to work to, that lays it down in black and white exactly where the lines should start and finish in this situation, and if so why is there so much difference between identical situations?



Now lets take a look at FIG 15.

The road markings are well in advance of the junction makes things a lot easier and safer, and causes less hassle for everyone concerned.


Why doesn't the rule say; Keep out of the hatch markings unless turning right?


Let's have a look at rule 86 in the current Highway Code, it states;

"Areas of white diagonal stripes or white chevrons painted on the road are to separate traffic lanes or protect traffic turning right".



See FIG 16. (Emerging onto a motorway)

" Where the marked area is bordered by an unbroken white line, you MUST NOT enter it except in an emergency".





See FIG 17. "Where the line is broken, you should not enter the area unless you can see that it is safe to do so".



Where this rule gets a little confusing is when you read rule 106 b (ii), in the same Highway Code, which states; "DO NOT overtake:  You might come into conflict with other road users, for example; where you would have to drive over an area marked with diagonal stripes or chevrons".


Now lets move on to double white lines along the road. See Rule 84 of the current Highway Code.

Rule 84 states;  "Where there are double white lines along the road and the line nearest you is unbroken, you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe to do so and you need to do so to enter adjoining premises, or a side road, to pass a stationary vehicle, or pass a road maintenance vehicle, pedal cycle or horse moving at 10 mph or less".

The underlined part of the last sentence may be of interest to many drivers as they may not have been aware of that part of the rule.

Going back to the person in authority who decides where to start and stop the lines, one wonders why the double continuous white lines continue well over the brow of a hill.  They could have been stopped considerably earlier because in many cases once you reach the brow of the hill you can see for a long distance and assess whether it is safe to overtake.   Obviously I am not talking about roads with dead ground, where you can't see that it is safe to overtake.

Roads marked clearly and correctly can make things much easier and safer; and if things are safer they will reduce accidents and save human suffering as well as a lot of public money.


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