What Pisses Me Off: Road work signs

One of the things that cheeses me off when I’m driving, is the way the road authorities – you know, the people responsible for keeping our highways up to standard (and that’s another moan!) – leave their signs all over the place, when they’re not actually doing anything!

I’m sure you know what I mean; you’re driving along a quiet country road, high shrubs and trees on both sides and you come to a curve. There, on the side curb is a sign saying, “40km limit ahead”, so you begin to slow down because you can’t see round the bend. About 50 metres further on, you pass another sign, repeating the 40kph warning and also saying “Prepare to stop at lights”. You carry on along this winding bit of road, wondering when the lights are going to hove into view, keeping your speed down and your foot on the brake, until a kilometre later, when you see the next sign in the sequence – this one says, “End of roadworks – 100kph”, or similar, often with a cheeky note added at the bottom, “Thank you for driving carefully”! And there has usually been no sign of work in the affected area, not even a patch of new tarmac to show where they have been!

This scenario and others very much like it occur at all too frequent intervals on our roads, and I believe the habit could prove to be dangerous in the right circumstances. The trouble is, we have all become too blasé about these roadwork signs, to the extent that many drivers fail to slow down at all when they pass them, because the above sequence has happened to them so many times, and they become sure it is just happening again! In other words the signs, meant to provide a safe environment around some road-work, are no longer believed and so they are ignored. This can result in a car, traveling at full speed or near it, rounding a curve after passing several warning signs, only to find a set of traffic lights about thirty metres in front of him, guarding a single lane of road, showing a red light, and about five vehicles coming the other way, not yet having pulled back over to their side of the road. Add to that the possibility of the road surface being wet and slippery due to recent rain, and you have a possible recipe for disaster!

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It’s my contention that highway authorities should be forced to remove all signs similar to those mentioned above, when work is not actually being carried out at that particular time. Local and highway authorities should be subject to heavy penalties if they are found to be ignoring this requirement, then maybe, if we are lucky, all those people who don’t trust the signs at present will start to believe them and adjust their speed accordingly.

I’m sure I’m in cuckoo land hoping that something like this might actually come about, but it still pisses me off and I felt I had to get it off my chest. The trouble is, I am as much to blame as any other motorist who doesn’t drop his speed to 40kph, or whatever else is specified, though I do claim that I always slow down a bit, say to 60kph, but even this may be too fast in some circumstances.

So please highway authorities, at whatever level, make certain your signs are out only when they are genuinely needed because work is in progress – I have even passed signs still standing there, despite the fact that I know the work was completed several months previously. This is just not good enough!


Do you agree with Brian?