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A recent survey by the RAC has revealed that over half of drivers frequently see obscured road signs on their journeys.

The motoring organisation has issued a safety warning for road users due to signs that are not fully visible to drivers. The problem is often caused by overgrown foliage, with 53% of motorists stating that this is a common occurrence.

According to three-quarters (74%) of drivers, speed limit signs are the most common type of sign to be covered up by out-of-control foliage. Over half (52%) say this affects 30mph signs the most, while 39% said 40mph signs are the most obscured, and 16% said 20mph signs are the hardest to see.

More than a third (39%) of motorists said the issue was worse in warmer months, with signs occasionally being more difficult to see at this time of year. Meanwhile, only one in 12 drivers (8%) felt that obscured signs were not a problem on roads in their area.

The RAC highlights the impact this can have on the safety of all road users. A quarter of motorists who noticed signs concealed by shrubbery said they missed important information that compromised their or someone else’s safety. Similarly, a huge 42% of drivers said this led to them accidentally breaking the speed limit.

The organisation is concerned that instructive ‘red circle’ signs appeared to be the worst affected. Alice Simpson, RAC breakdown spokesperson, said: “Drivers shouldn’t be left to rely on their local knowledge and navigation apps to know if there’s a change in speed limit or if a junction is approaching. And new in-car systems that normally detect road signs and display them on the dashboard are redundant if a sign isn’t visible.

“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.”

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