Traffic filtering needs common sense and common courtesy

Slip road safety is down to simple filtering but some drivers are intent of closing the gap.

Slip road safety is down to simple filtering but some drivers are intent of closing the gap. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Mind the gap – motoring editor Andy Russell says some drivers’ impatience actually ends up slowing traffic to a stop and could cause a serious accident.

Patience is not a strongpoint of mine as anyone who knows me will tell you.

When it comes to traffic hold-ups, like many people, I would rather drive a few miles out of my way to keep moving rather than spend a lot of time in stop-start traffic.

My home journey from work takes me along a stretch of dual-carriageway bypass where an 18-month project is under way to improve a junction to release land for new homes and new jobs at a nearby business park. All very necessary but it means I am caught in crawling traffic every day.

Despite some improvements to the temporary highway arrangements, traffic comes to a virtual standstill where the slip road at the roadworks joins the bypass but it’s more down to some motorists’ behaviour than the road layout.

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It seems some drivers are, at best, incapable or, at worst, unwilling to adopt a simple filtering system so everyone can keep moving along, albeit slowly. I know I am not alone in thinking this because, for anyone who regularly travels this stretch of road, it is becoming the bane of their drive, often taking almost as long to get through the works as it does to do the rest of the short journey to nearby villages.

I’ve winced as drivers speed out of the slip road into a gap that hardly exists or vehicles on the bypass speed up to close a gap and stop a car filtering in.

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Why? Do they really want to shave a few seconds off their journey? What actually happens is that a whole queue of traffic ends up braking to a complete stop and the traffic builds up rather than flowing through. I have seen a couple of near-misses and can’t believe there has not been a bump or scrape.

I remember visiting the Channel Islands which has a filter-in-turn system at some junctions and roundabouts with a yellow grid painted on the road and a triangular ‘filter’ sign. It works well when used properly. You must not enter the junction unless your exit is clear and all directions have equal priority with vehicles filtering through the junction in turn.

So back to the sliproad predicament. All it needs is motorists leaving a bit of space between their vehicle and the one in front so a car from the slip road can filter on to the bypass. The problem is that there will always be those selfish motorists intent on bullying their way to the front.

I just hope I don’t come into contact with them... literally.

Twitter @andyrussellauto

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