20 July 2017
An AA-Populus Driver Poll of more than 16,000 found that two fifths (40%) of drivers say that speed limit and warning signs being blocked by overgrown foliage on local roads are causing problems.
The same survey also found:
- More than two fifths (42%) say that sight lines at junctions were now a problem because of overgrown shrubs and long grass
- Two fifths (39%) said that obscured direction signs were a problem due to overhanging branches.
We put the same question to the AA-Populus panel in 2016 and most regions are performing worse now than a year ago, with the East Midlands, West Midlands and South West regions being the stand out areas with the most problematic verges and road signs.
A recent investigation by the AA found that some local authorities are reducing their verge maintenance budgets despite receiving increased revenues from parking charges and bus lane infringements.
Hidden signs and sight lines contribute to more than 1000 casualties
According to Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2015, masked signs and overgrown vegetation contributed to more than 1000 casualties including three fatalities.
Edmund King, AA president says “Drivers are becoming increasingly concerned about the upkeep of our verges, and it is clear the problem isn’t going away.
Cut backs can have consequences
“Highways authorities may think reducing the number of times a hedge or a tree is trimmed throughout the year is an easy cost saving measure, but cut backs can have consequences.
Most gardeners will be aware that vegetation has grown more aggressively this spring and summer due to the weather, but it seems pretty obvious that in some areas verge maintenance has been kicked into the long grass
“While we strive for zero road deaths, something as simple as cutting back shrubs to improve sight lines at junctions can be the difference between seeing a vulnerable road user and not seeing them.
“Most gardeners will be aware that vegetation has grown more aggressively this spring and summer due to the weather, but it seems pretty obvious that in some areas verge maintenance has been kicked into the long grass."
Populus received 16,239 responses from AA members to its online poll between the 13 and 20 June 2017
Populus received 21,877 responses from AA members to its online poll between the 14 and 21 June 2016