More than half of drivers say foliage frequently obscures road signs – survey

More than half of drivers (53%) say foliage frequently obscures road signs on their journeys, a survey suggests.

The RAC, which commissioned the poll, said road users are being put in “grave danger” as it urged highways authorities to ensure signs are fully visible.

Nearly three out of four (74%) respondents to the survey said signs showing speed limits are the most likely to be covered by vegetation.

Some 42% of people who noticed signs being obscured said this has caused them to accidentally exceed speed limits.

Other impacts include compromising safety by missing important information (26%), missing a turn (28%), and driving in the wrong direction (8%).

RAC spokeswoman Alice Simpson said: “In parks and gardens foliage is a welcome sign of spring, but on the roads it’s an entirely different matter if vital information like speed limit changes aren’t visible.

“It’s especially concerning that speed limit signs are often the hardest to detect and drivers are left guessing what the legal limit is before they spot a smaller repeater sign.

“Any amount of excessive speeding puts everyone on the roads at grave danger, especially on minor and local roads where there’s a greater number of pedestrians.

“While we realise local councils are under enormous pressure financially, we nonetheless ask them to inspect all the signs on their networks and do everything in their power to ensure they are clear and visible to drivers, as it’s these signs that can save lives.”

Claire Holland, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: “Councils’ highways teams work tirelessly to check and keep the roads, verges and signs clear and safe for all road users.

“Severe financial pressures on councils means they have to prioritise what work they can do and how quickly they can act.

“If residents or drivers notice any signs that are obscured, please report them to your local council.”