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Opinion : If the motorist doesn’t know they can’t react

| November 13, 2015


Last Wednesday evening (11th November 2015) traffic gridlock came to High Wycombe when the M40 was closed in both directions due to a collision between two vehicles on the Southbound carriageway.

With the M40 closed traffic in Wycombe, especially around Handy Cross, came to halt and gridlock set in.

To make matters worse drivers had no way of knowing that the M40 was closed so more and more joined the ever growing queues compounding an already dire situation.

Even Abbey Way and London Road were affected not to mention West Wycombe Road, New Road and most of the major arterial thoroughfares in the town.

What amazes me is that no measures are in place to let drivers know of traffic blockages. For example there are electrically powered sign boards around the entrances to town saying how many spaces are available in the town centre car parks but nothing to warn of problems on the road ahead.

If there were electric boards giving out messages like ‘M40 closed – use an alternative route’ then drivers could have taken appropriate action.

Once London Road grinds to a halt there isn’t much that can be done, however there are plenty of alternative routes that drivers wishing to go to the West of Wycombe could take. For example going up Hatters Lane, Totteridge Lane, Kingshill Road, Green Road, down Green Hill, up Coates Lane down Plomer Hill and onto the A40 cutting out the town centre.

Of course if drivers are unaware of a blockage then they take no action and add to the traffic misery building ahead of them.

Rather that worrying about reconfiguring the road layout in the centre of town using a daft ‘Masterplan’ it would be far better to spend money on better signage that can give up to date information to drivers.

Come to think of it modern technology hasn’t made that much impact on the world of road signage. Painted metallic boards can display only a static message but if a newfangled computerised board was installed the message could be changed on the fly.

Motorways often have message boards on the overhead gantries informing motorists of trouble ahead so surely something similar, but on a smaller scale, could be used in the towns too?

The key to keeping traffic moving is to keep the motorists informed and divert them where appropriate. If the drivers do not know of a problem they take no action and gridlock results as was seen on Wednesday evening.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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