Traffic filtering needs common sense and common courtesy

Road works at Postwick cause drivers delays.Photo by Simon Finlay.

Road works at Postwick cause drivers delays.Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Some motorists seem, at best, incapable or, at worst, unwilling to adopt a simple filtering system so everyone can keep moving along, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Patience is not a strongpoint of mine as anyone who knows me will tell you.

When it comes to traffic hold-ups, like many people, I would rather drive a few miles out of my way to keep moving rather than spend a lot of time in stop-start traffic.

My journey home from work takes me along Norwich Southern Bypass where an 18-month project is under way on a £19m improvement of the Postwick junction to release land for 1,600 new homes and create the potential for 5,000 more jobs at Broadland Business Park so I am getting caught in crawling traffic.

Despite some improvements to the temporary highway arrangements, traffic comes to a virtual standstill where the slip road from Postwick joins the A47 bypass but it's more down to some motorists' behaviour than the road layout.

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It seems some drivers are, at best, incapable or, at worst, unwilling to adopt a simple filtering system so everyone can keep moving along, albeit slowly. I know I am not alone in thinking this because, for anyone who regularly travels this stretch of road, it is becoming the bane of their drive, often taking almost as long to get through the works as it does to do the rest of the short journey to nearby villages.

I've winced as drivers speed out of the slip road into a gap that hardly exists or vehicles on the bypass speed up to close a gap and stop a car filtering in.

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Why? Do they really want to shave a few seconds off their journey? What actually happens is that a whole queue of traffic ends up braking and coming to a complete stop and the traffic builds up rather than flowing through. I have seen a couple of near-misses and can't believe there has not been a bump or scrape somewhere along the line.

I remember visiting the Channel Islands which has a filter-in-turn system at some junctions and roundabouts with a yellow grid painted on the road and a triangular 'filter' sign. It works well when used properly. You must not enter the junction unless your exit is clear and all directions have equal priority with vehicles filtering through the junction in turn.

So back to Postwick. All it needs is motorists leaving a bit of space between their vehicle and the one in front so a car from the slip road can filter on to the bypass. The problem is that there will always be those selfish motorists intent on bullying their way to the front.

I just hope I don't come into contact with them... literally.

Lots of people have agreed with me about the hazards of road signs being obscured by foliage at this time of year.

One person even told how it led to him being caught for speeding because of the positioning of a 30mph sign on a bend and it being hidden by leaves and the long process to get the conviction overturned.

The AA website (a great source of information and motoring advice) points out that not only do drivers run the risk of accidents and fines because many critical signs are hidden behind overgrown foliage but cyclists and pedestrians are at risk because many rural roads have been artificially narrowed by overgrown banks and hedges.

Many signs are covered and hidden by foliage from plants and trees growing on non-highway land so it is the landowner's responsibility to cut it back. The AA says the highway authority can take action if a landowner refuses but it delays it being cleared.

So if you have a road sign outside your property, check it can be seen clearly in good time by approaching road-users. If it can't get out the shears – it could save everyone a lot of hazard and hassle.

Twitter @andyrussellauto

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