Motorists warned about obscured road signs

Safety campaigners are warning motorists about road signs obscured by roadside vegetation, which is currently at its thickest

Obscured Stop sign on a rural road

Motorists are being warned to take care not to miss a road sign hidden by overgrown roadside vegetation, which is currently particularly hazardous thanks to recent rain.  

Many local authorities are already stretched due to the coronavirus crisis and the maintenance of road signs might not be a priority.

Hidden road signs are not only an inconvenience, they could also be misleading and even dangerous.

“If you can’t see a sign,” said GEM Motoring Assist chief executive Neil Worth, “then your ability to make safe decisions is compromised, especially if you’re on unfamiliar roads.”

As Brits plan staycations instead of overseas holidays this year, motorists may find themselves driving on unfamiliar roads more frequently.

It’s not just local roads, either. A 2019 survey by Transport Focus revealed that one in three drivers had missed a motorway exit due to concealed road signs.

Report road signs

Mr Worth advises motorists to report hidden road signs to the local authority responsible.

In England and Wales, there is a dedicated page to sort street signs: enter a postcode and it takes you to the local authority responsible for that road sign.

In Northern Ireland, there is also a dedicated page to report road signs – and if it’s already been reported, you can add your name to the list of people reporting it.

Scottish motorists can report road signs via Transport Scotland.

Meanwhile, on motorways and A-roads, TransportFocus has a ‘Sort My Sign’ hub: enter the location, road name or postcode, detail the problem, and the report will be sent straight to Highways England.

Top tips for road sign safety

Knowing the shape of road signs can be enough: ‘Stop’ is the only octagonal road sign, for example

‘Give Way’ is the only upside-down triangular sign – if you see it, there is a junction ahead

Anticipate speed limit changes: if you’re on a country road approaching a built-up area, expect a speed limit change to 30mph

Many new cars come with road sign displays in the instrument panel. They are a useful reminder – but if the road sign is hidden, do remember that the camera won’t be able to read it either.


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Richard Aucock
I'm director at Motoring Research. I run a bit, cycle a bit, have a huge love for the automotive industry.


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