It wasn’t until the Camberley News & Mail contacted me about last week’s accident on Red Road in Lightwater that I realised there’d been another serious accident, requiring the road to be closed.
The gist of what I said to the paper is that the road isn’t in itself essentially dangerous, it’s driver error, reckless or otherwise that’s mostly the cause of accidents.
However, I did say that I believe that accidents end up becoming more serious than might be expected for a number of reasons,
- Throughout its whole length, from Gordon’s School roundabout of the A322 to its junction with the Maultway in Heatherside, trees, banks and ditches are close to the edge of the road. These are very unforgiving in a vehicle collision. Both of the two recent accidents, the vehicles collided with trees. [Note: there is a small stretch of the road with a pedestrian pavement on one side].
- Vehicle speed. As part of the road is on a hill, there’s a tendency, perhaps sometimes inadvertently, for vehicles to carry too much speed when encountering the S bends.
- Insufficient and missing road warning signs. I’ve said at length that when road warning signs are demolished in an accident, it seems to take ages for them to be re-erected, sometimes if ever. See HERE, and HERE for my report on the missing signs.
- Policing the speed limit, currently 60mph, and later this year 50mph, is extremely difficult, there being no safe place for hand-held speed cameras or a stationary police vehicle.
Ok, so what can be done to reduce the number and severity of the accidents. Briefly, here are some suggestions.
- Create a road safety working party, of County Highways, and police accident reduction officers. Essential.
- Replace all missing warning signs: Essential and not costly.
- Widen and straighten the road, particularly around the S bends: Inordinately expensive.
- Speed Cameras: Sensible and of medium cost.
- Create a large traffic island at the junction with Macdonald Road, has the benefit of slowing traffic: Very costly.
- Traffic Lights at junction with Macdonald Road, again slowing traffic. Costly.
- Install crash barriers along parts of the road susceptible to serious accidents. Moderately expensive.
Finally, yesterday evening I attended a Windlesham Parish Council meeting as a visitor, because I heard that Inspector Martin Goodwin was giving a brief presentation before the parish meeting began. It was my opportunity to ask Martin about his concerns with Red Road, following the recent accidents.
Martin spoke of setting up a working party to review road safety and thought that speed cameras could be a solution. Also, I’ve promised to give him a copy of my warning signs report. I remain positive and optimistic that something can be done in the soon.
UPDATE: Excellent comment from Mark Cole on inexpensive ways to make drivers aware of the dangers on the S bends. I’ll pass these onto Inspector Goodwin.