This time of year, greenery at the sides of roads is growing like crazy, this blog demonstrates how this fact affects us as drivers, and how to be extra careful to keep safe on the roads.
This is an example where a good driver always needs to be prepared to adapt to changing situations and identify a critical hazard when it arises.
Take a look at this junction, this is from the drivers position, looking right into the major road. The vision into the road is restricted due to the greenery growing.
This is hazardous enough as it is, if we can’t see other vehicles they can’t see us. And the new road has a national speed limit on it, so vehicles can be coming towards us at up to 60mph. This means that vehicles coming from the right (as we are looking) will take 73 metres to come to a stop if you were to make a mistake and emerge when something is coming. The distance up the road that you can physically see in the image above is just over 20 metres. This poses a problem to drivers wanting to emerge. Make sure you realise where the problem is here, if a driver emerges into the path of traffic already in the major road, and if it results in an accident, it will be the driver who emerged into the road who takes the responsibility for the consequences.
This image here will show you literally now high the greenery is, about 5 foot:
From the seated position in the drivers seat, you literally cannot see vehicles coming from the right.
What to do?
One option would be to very carefully nudge the nose of the vehicle out, at a foot at a time, so as not to distress any drivers already in the major road, and slowly do this until your vision does improve and you are 100% certain that it is safe to emerge.
An alternative is to apply handbrake, switch off engine, check right side mirror, check right blindspot, open the drivers door and literally stand outside the car and see if your view is improved to be able to see that there is nothing coming. Be very careful with this though, things change quickly in “national speed limit” roads, if it takes you say 20 seconds to get back in the car, apply seat belt, start engine, in that time, things may have changed to the right, so take care.
It is a nightmare scenario. The junction that you see here is in Bourne, Lincolnshire, but on a mock test in Grantham recently, this exact scenario presented itself again. It is extremely hazardous. Although the root cause for this situation lays with Local Authorities and the Highways Agency not maintaining the height of the verges to assist road safety, this situation is cropping up all over Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.
This image shows you the view of the junction from the right:
Almost impossible to spot the junction. The only clue that a non-local driver would have that there is a junction to the left is the white sign on the right, can you see it? Many drivers would miss that.
What this means is that there is great potential for drivers in the major road approaching this junction not appreciating that there is POTENTIALLY a hazard up ahead of traffic emerging from the junction. A bit of a double whammy as far as hazards go.
Without wanting to unnecessarily overstate or dramatize the situation, this kind of scenario is the making of fatal accidents, where vehicles travelling in the direction as shown in this image above, end up driving into the drivers door of the vehicle emerging.
TAKE CARE – DO NOT EMERGE UNLESS YOU KNOW IT IS SAFE
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