ROAD signage in south-west Victoria is a disgrace and some of it poses a risk to drivers, according to a former VicRoads employee, who claims that up to 95 per cent of signs are wrongly erected.
Warrnambool’s Albert Turner, 78, said he took up the issue with VicRoads after being blinded and almost involved in an accident on the Hamilton Highway near Lismore in February.
“I’ve noticed the problem for a couple of years and I’ve brought it to the attention of VicRoads, the Transport Accident Commission and Warrnambool and Moyne councils but I’m not getting far with anyone, except VicRoads,” he said.
“I nearly had an accident when I was blinded by my headlights off a sign going to Melbourne. There was a truck coming the other way and I veered between the truck and the sign and then nearly ran off the road because I just couldn’t see.
“The point is that headlights are now super bright and signs super reflective. If the signs are not fitted at the right angle then drivers can be temporarily blinded.”
Mr Turner said 95 per cent of the signs were not set at the correct angle and he presumes that was because workers were not being instructed in their legal responsibilities.
“The problem is not in Warrnambool and towns where there’s street lights, but out on the open highway there are severe issues,” he said.
“I know workers who have put up signs and they have not been instructed about their responsibilities. Signs either need to be properly fitted or they should be taken out. If the job’s worth doing then it should be done properly.”
Mr Turner, who spent 23 years working as an overseer with the Country Roads Board (now VicRoads), said many signs clearly did not meet road safety requirements.
“Most cannot be read at night while driving with lights on high beam,” he said. “Signs are placed for the purpose of warning drivers of subsequent dangers and many other reasons. If they cannot be read easily they should not be there.”
Mr Turner said some signs were also mounted incorrectly — some too low and others too high — while many others were too far off the road.
“Speed signs are supposed to be level across the road and set at the required distance from the edge of the road,” he said.
“Locally, some speed signs are too far off the road, some on electric poles and in some places only on one side of the road, which could be hidden by a passing truck or oncoming traffic.”
The experienced driver said trying to interpret signs should not distract motorists or cause temporary blindness.
Mr Turner said he had been in contact with VicRoads and was told that night audits of new signs were carried out every six months.
VicRoads regional director William Tieppo said the arterial road network was regularly inspected to ensure it was in a safe condition, including signage.
“If there are specific examples of poor road signage, we encourage motorists and members of the community to report any issues by calling 13 11 70.”