It’s a sign of the times

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Tens of thousands of the UK’s road signs could be ready for removal from across the country after a Department for Transport (DfT) report found many were superfluous.


The report comes from a 2015 Road Signs Task Force created to investigate the use of road signs. This stated that over 4.2 million road signs, many that were less about reducing accidents but instead more about preventing legal action being taken against local authorities.


The 2017 report obtained via a Freedom of Information request, recommends that entire categories of sign be scrapped altogether. It argues that many warnings insulted the degree of stupidity on the driver’s part. The sheer cost of manufacturing and maintaining a single road sign is also waste of government money, and this could be redeployed elsewhere (such as better road surfaces) and more parking facilities.


Signs that are under the cosh for removal are:


Traffic light signs
Roundabout and junction warning signs
Clearway signs
End of motorway regulations signs
Speed camera warning signs


The number of UK road signs has grown from 2.16 million in 1993 to 4.57 million in 2013. The programme wants new rules drawn up for councils, which would stipulate that signs should be limited in their height so they can be seen far easier at eyelevel.


Many surveys before this report also showed that the more signs the driver has to compute, the less each sign’s effectiveness was. Information overload on the human brain delays making decisions or worse still, making the right decision, and this can be seen as the topic on various blogs sent in by people who have been confused and ended up being caught in the wrong lane or similar.