Traffic calming measures are being used more and more by local authorities to manage traffic and reduce excessive speed. There is little doubt that such measures are important and have an important part to play in managing road safety in any neighbourhood. A recent study by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents showed that the presence of speed cameras alone reduces the number of accidents, with a 70% reduction in the number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit where fixed cameras are present.
There is a wide range of traffic calming measures that local authorities also use to reduce speeds ranging from speed humps to lowering speed limits and road narrowing to force drivers to slow down. However, some argue that some local authorities go too far in the measures they use and how widespread they are in a particular area, and begin to question whether they use them to generate revenue. A recent article published in the Telegraph reports that the majority of drivers ignore 20mph speed limits; in fact, a 2016 study of nine sites across the UK found that 81% of drivers exceeded the speed limit. The lowering of the limit to 20mph was enabled by the Department for Transport to give local highway authorities, in consultation with local residents, the flexibility to focus on problem areas and set up road traffic calming measures.
But are traffic calming measures being used to generate income? There is no argument that they play a crucial part in road safety – and this is supported by such studies – so it may be that they are simply not thought through fully. Here are just a few examples with some suggested ways to avoid getting caught out:
- Narrowing roads with bollards on either side, but leaving the middle section open rather than blocking it off. Larger vehicles, such as vans and even some SUVs, may not fit through the narrow sections and will therefore opt to drive through the middle section instead, often getting caught on camera.
Keep an eye out for signs warning of road narrowing and vary your route wherever possible.
- Confusing speed limit signs, where limits have been changed but signs for the previous limit have not been removed. This is compounded where there are flashing signs highlighting a vehicle’s speed and asking drivers to slow down which conflict with the speed limits posted elsewhere on the same road.
If in doubt, stick to the lower speed limit to avoid getting caught out.
- Road markings which guide drivers to stick to the marked-out lane, but then allowing cars to park on both sides of the road forcing drivers to move out of their lane in order to overtake safely.
Be clear that you intend to overtake an obstacle in the road by indicating early and throughout the manoeuvre.
There is the option of challenging a ticket if you do get one. However, this means taking the time to find out how to do so – not all local authorities have the same procedures in place – and going through the process which typically ranges from a few days to a month between submitting a challenge and receiving a response; there is also no guarantee that a challenge will be successful. So even when you are in a rush, it’s worth keeping an eye out for such changes, particularly if you are driving in an area you are not familiar with.
For van hire and advice on how to stay safe on the road talk to us at CVS Van Hire. If you need a van for your journey, we would be happy to help. With a number of options for all your needs, call us on 020 8003 2785 and we will help you find the right vehicle.