Roads are at the core of our everyday lives, enabling us to move around freely, get to work, and enjoy our leisure time. We all use them – whether as drivers, walkers, cyclists, or passengers – but by their very nature, roads are dangerous and therefore our safety when using them must be treated with upmost importance. While the government sets the standards and legislation we adhere to, local authorities are responsible for delivering road safety, with a statutory duty to implement the on the ground improvements that all our lives depend on.
Lakeside Group is a team of established suppliers of high quality reflective products. From traffic signage to emergency vehicle markings, we help local authorities, private businesses, and other organisations cultivate better road safety for all.
In this guide, we outline some practical steps to improve road safety.
Importance of road safety
According to the World Economic Forum, road traffic collisions kill one person every 24 seconds, which amounts to 3000 people every single day. Effective road safety offers people the ability to move around safely, enjoy public spaces, and engage in healthy, fulfilling activities without living in fear of accidents. It also:
- – Prevents fatalities and life-changing injuries.
- – Limits the emotional trauma accidents can cause.
- – Saves public money.
- – Reduces burden on health and social care services.
- – Supports policies like active travel and sustainability.
- Improves quality of life.
Clearly, with all these benefits in mind, road safety is paramount. Next, we look at some practical measures and actions which can be implemented in order to achieve it.
Road safety measures for local authorities
Road design & route planning
Planning new developments with road safety in mind is key, as there are certain ways to ensure optimum safety from the start. For example, roads can be planned and designed to reduce bottlenecks and ensure steady traffic flow, and roundabouts are typically considered safer options at junctions than traffic lights.
Road safety accessories like rumble strips can also be useful additions to your area, alerting motorists should they stray outside their lane. Guardrails can also be implemented in certain locations with hazards and dangerous areas to keep vehicles away from them if and when they drive off the road.
Poor quality roads with deteriorating surfaces can become safety hazards – making skidding and collisions more likely, especially around bends. To overcome this, rigorous road maintenance plans are required.
Potholes should be filled quickly upon identification, along with maintaining lane markings, and keeping traffic signs clean and clear of debris. In the winter, gritting is essential and throughout the rest of the year surface treatments can be applied to sensitive areas and sharp turns which limits the chance of skidding. It may also be necessary to keep vegetation trimmed back where it might reduce visibility.
Road sign conspicuity
Road safety in good conditions is one thing – what about at night, or in foggy or wet weather? Road sign conspicuity is central to any road and traffic safety initiative. During the night, a lack of depth and hazard perception can make accidents more likely, but sign retroreflectivity can help keep drivers informed and alert.
In addition to utilising a high performing retroreflective material, road maintenance contractors may want to consider specifying a protective overlaminate with dew resistant properties to their signs. Water droplets from dew conditions or from rain on the surface of signs interferes with the passage of light returned to the driver, making signs less reflective and therefore more difficult to observe and read.
Find out more The Ultimate Guide to Dew-Resistant Overlay Film >
By providing clear, frequent information and hazard signs, enhanced with top quality reflective sheeting and a dew resistant overlay, will ensure signs are highly visible to motorists even in poor light levels.
Further to this, by ensuring compliance with National Highways CS 125 Inspection of traffic signs road maintenance contractors can ensure that signs remain free from defects or failures which may prevent “minimum clear visibility”.
Speed control is central to effective road safety – informing drivers of the correct and safest speed in sensitive and residential areas. Local authorities have a responsibility to establish the safest speed limit in accordance with road features and function, as well as the known community of users.
Speed can be enforced in a range of ways, the most common of which is through camera control and fines. Other ways of controlling motorist speed include installing speed ramps and clear reduce speed signs, and conducting educational awareness campaigns.
Cyclist & pedestrian safety
Many local authorities are striving to promote active travel in their communities. See How to Facilitate Active Travel in Urban Areas from our sister company, Solareye, for more information. Not only does having fewer cars on the road help councils reach sustainability targets, but it also benefits road safety by lowering congestion.
To encourage walking and cycling, local authorities can introduce measures to make these modes of transport safer and more appealing. Providing cycle paths and clear footpaths that are regularly maintained, well lit and clearly sign posted can increase safety for all.
Find out more about Facilitating Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists >
Emergency vehicles like ambulances and police cars provide critical response in an emergency. Ensuring these vehicles can get where they need to unhindered is important, and so is reducing the risk of further accidents. That means they need to be highly conspicuous – something that is achieved through clear sirens, highly conspicuous vehicle markings, and distinctive livery. This reflective livery helps pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists identify the vehicles even at night or during inclement weather. As a result, they can operate safely – saving lives, without endangering others.
Exceptional reflective materials for better road safety
Unrivalled durability, failsafe performance. Lakeside Group has been a leading figure in the traffic, cycle, and pedestrian safety industries for decades, providing the innovative materials businesses and local authorities need to protect their people.