Last week I was driving down the M58 on the way home at around 3pm. I don't know if any of you are familiar with this particular motorway but it's the quietest one I've ever been on - made redundant I suspect because of the East Lancashire Road. Anyhow, as I was driving, I saw the matrix signs which displayed 50. Not wanting to get points on my licence, I slowed to 50 which on a motorway is unbelievably slow. After a few miles and not seeing anything (crash or traffic jam) another sign said 30. Needless to say, doing 50 had angered many other people as they passed me at high speeds although probably only 70mph. I stayed at 30 for about two minutes when after 4 trucks overtook me, I gave up and accelerated to a yobbish 40mph on a clear, otherwise safe motorway on which traffic was still overtaking me. By the time I left the motorway, I was 30 minutes late and locking the doors as I got anfry looks from drivers. However, upon accidently stumbling on a previous thread, it has been mentioned that these speed limits shown on the matrix boards are advisory unless they are encompassed in a red cirlce in which case they are compulsory. Is this true? I am ashamed for not knowing myself but these speed limits were obviously out of date as from the moment I passed the first 50mph limit sign till the very end of the motorway, there was nothing. No roadworks, jams or crashes. Are these signs legal speed limits? It's just that in that particular case, it would have appeared to have been detrimental to myself if I were to do 30mph on a motorway (judging by the other driver's faces)
Problem is the operatives in the Police control rooms sometimes forget to switch the damn things off!! Also when a new operative is being trained or the system is being updated they are switched on for testing purposes - which in my mind is a bit stupid as it confuses motorists. This is why most motorists have come to ignore them. However this can be dangerous if there is a real reason for them to be on.
That would make sense as the 50mph limit (if it were legally enforcable) may well have started before I joined the motorway (from the slip road) so I could have, legally been doing 70mph whereas other drivers who had seen the limit displayed before the point where I joined the motorway, would, technically be breaking the law.
I asked the same question a while ago - I had seen similar 50mph limits on the M1.
Generally, the answer was that the signs are not enforceable because (a) they are not surrounded by the red circle and (b) a change in the speed limit on a temporary restriction, or otherwise, has to be applied for through the appropriate channels - something long the lines of Road Traffic Act.
There was the caveat that if a driver ignores the temporary restriction and is involved in an incident then he may be liable for prosecution for due care and attention.
ahh I see. It's just that I did conform with the limits for the most parts but when traffic including artics were rushing past, the car felt very vunerable. Probably was more dangerous to stick to 30 then at a comfortable 50mph. Nothing I say can illustrate how clear the motorway was. You could see as far as nearly the end as it was so clear! Just thought I'd say that.
I realise that my previous post would seem to suggest an attitude of "Oh - it may be a 30 limit but I know this road is safe enough to go 50mph". Whilst I disagree with many 30 limits on open, clear roads, I would not advocate wreckless driving just because you feel confident.
Ok...now I'm even more confused. (Not by any of your threads don't worry)
I have been told since the first posting that these matrix signs are compulsory. But to be honest I'm not sure. There are arguements for both sides really. Unlike the gantry signs which would show the speed limit in a COMPULSORY red circle, these signs are the same ones used to display FOG warnings so could they enforce a legal speed limit?
Someone MUST know!
P.S - yes before anyone asks - I am ashamed that I do not know this particular section in the highway code and I will gratefully take any criticism as long as they tell me ARE THESE SPEED LIMITS COMPULSORY?
DVD - that begs the question, what about the red 'X' that means 'Do not proceed any furtherin this lane.'? Are they advisory as well? I always obey them but have seen many drivers pass under them at high speed on the M4. (These are the drivers that then have to force their way into a queue further down the road.)
The speed limit signs on these boards are normally advisory but they would be put there for a reason. If you ignore them and are caught doing so, you could possibly be committing an offence of driving without due care and attention or, depending on the circumstances, dangerous driving. In some areas, the local legislation is such that they have now become mandatory and you could, therefore, be prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit.
I was stuck on the northbound A404 the other week, heading into High Wycombe. An accident had completely blocked the junction with the M40, so I along with everyone else on the carriageway was sat stationary, no chance of going anywhere. It grew dark, people were getting blankets out of their boots to keep warm, others were looking around for kindling to light fires with, etc, etc.
Eventually, after about an hour, the matrix sign above me flickered into life. "Slow down - congestion", it warned.
On a more serious note, I think these matrix signs can be very, very dangerous.
Imagine the scene - you do quite high Motorway mileage, so you often see these signs, just sitting there in clear conditions doing nothing becuase the local authority has not bothered to turn them off.
After the 20th occasion, what do you do? 30mph along a quiet, empty free flowing Motorway, or just continue at 70? You'll continue at 70.
Then round a corner, find an accident/queue/problem, and go sailing into the back. All becuase the Matrix Signs 'Cried wolf' on so many previous occasions.
On a more serious note, I think these matrix signs can
be very, very dangerous.
Imagine the scene - you do quite high Motorway mileage, so
you often see these signs, just sitting there in clear conditions
doing nothing becuase the local authority has not bothered to turn
After the 20th occasion, what do you do? 30mph along a
quiet, empty free flowing Motorway, or just continue at 70? You'll
continue at 70.
Then round a corner, find an accident/queue/problem, and go sailing into
the back. All becuase the Matrix Signs 'Cried wolf' on so
many previous occasions.
Sorry but i couldn't see this happening as i've never been on motorway with a blind corner and one which i couldn't see far enough ahead to see a large build of traffic. I do agree with you that the signs are very misleading especially on the m6 when sometimes they display 20! on a clear and open stretch in fine weather which is annoying because they are putting loads of speed cameras on the motorway and have a red speed camera van which lurks on bridges above the carriageway. I am still not 100% sure if the speed the these cameras would trigger at would change when the limit on the signs is displaying a lower limit than 70mph.
just been showing my mate this site, and his veiw on this thread (not neccessily my own :-) ) is that when mobile plod is doing his speed checking, they deliberatly get the controllers to put down the limit on the signs, so that they can "nab" the ones that "can't" see any reason for the restriction, and so don't bother!
all comments will be directed back to him, until he,s finished his coffee!
i won't post his reply! as i like visiting this site, but i don't think he agrees with you!(about the signs that is).
however, i did say N.M.O, but i guess he's entitled to his.he is supposedly getting a p.c next month, so i'll guess we may be hearing from him again :-)
Sorry but i couldn't see this happening as i've never been
on motorway with a blind corner and one which i couldn't
see far enough ahead to see a large build of traffic.
There are a few, mostly on older motorways. Particularly nasty example on the M1 south just by Luton. Motorway in cutting, turns pretty sharp left immediately onto an incline so there are slow lorries even before anything goes wrong. Few round Glasgow as well.
Motorway Matrix Signs - Compulsory? -
Dwight Van Driver
Just for you...
Where a matrix sign mounted on a gantry or other structure is so placed that a traffic lane of the carriageway passes directly beneath it, the warning, requirement, restriction, prohibition or speed limit conveyed by the sign shall apply only to vehicular traffic facing that sign and proceeding along the traffic lane passing directly beneath it.
In relation to the red you mention, then:
Each lamp shall show an intermittent red light at a rate of flashing of not less than 60 nor more than 90 flashes per minute, and in such a manner that the lights of one vertical pair are always shown when the lights of the other vertical pair are not shown; and the red cross or the white symbol shall be illuminated by a steady light when the red lights are flashing.
When displayed on a gantry over the carriageway, they shall convey the prohibition that vehicular traffic proceeding in the traffic lane immediately below the signals shall not proceed beyond them in that lane.
Highway Code says:
Red flashing lights. If red lights on the overhead signals flash above your lane (there may also be a red 'X') you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in that lane. If red lights flash on a signal in the central reservation or at the side of the road, you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in any lane.
Motorway Matrix Signs - Compulsory? -
Dwight Van Driver
...and even clearer;
Where a matrix sign is placed beside the carriageway of a road the warning, requirement, restriction, prohibition or speed limit conveyed by the sign shall apply to all vehicular traffic facing that sign and proceeding along the carriageway beside which the sign is placed.
For the purposes of this regulation a sign which is mounted on a post situated beside the carriageway but is projected over it or part of it shall be treated as a sign placed beside the carriageway of that road
I can see the chaos now. You see the sign requiring that \"ye shall pass no further\" and so slow to a halt on a clearish motorway.... as trucks swerve to avoid you, transits rear end you and little old ladies in Micras flip you the bird as they tear past at 45mph.
As mentioned above, these darn things cry wolf so often I can\'t really see these being any help whatsoever. There\'s also the general lack of understanding (witness a comment on another thread about the use of bus lanes outside of the posted operational hours and the reactions of the terminally stupid)
Now stick couple of fire engines across the motorway and you may get the desire results.
Perhaps time the control rooms tightened up, coupled with a brief road safety campaign on the understanding of these signs. After all, there\'s enough money coming out of motorist pockets to fund a prime-time soap on every terrestrial channel so a couple of \"Tufty says don\'t pass this sign\" type ads will hardly break the bank.
The max speed mentioned is not Mandatory but non compliance could
be used as evidence against you for dangerous, due care etc.
I know that I got a few peoples backs up with regards reporting unlicensed police vehicles, and therefore may be regarded as a bit of a police basher, but I am not, and I ask the following out of curiosity, not because I want to blatantly get away with things.
I have always wondered about Driving without Due Care and Attention. It's a very subjective thing isn't it? How can a police officer prove that you were not paying attention nor driving without care if you continue up a clear motorway, with an advisory limit of 50mph, at 70mph. Surely a motorist would counter the charge with "I was aware of the advisory limit, but I was driving with full attention and care at a speed such as to respond to any incident ahead as soon as I came upon it."
I guess my point is that surely not following an ADVISORY limit doesn't mean that you are not paying attention. You have been made aware that there may be reason to go slower, and you will do so when you reach the incident.
So how can you police on such a subjective premise?
Motorway Matrix Signs - Compulsory? -
Dwight Van Driver
Don't really want to enter into an arguement But:
Firstly "Due care and attention" has been defined as the standard of driving that would be expected of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver in all the attendant circumstances.
The standard of driving that would be expected of above mentioned driver will be a question of fact for a Court to decide. In doing so Their Worships may well take into account local factors such as expected level of traffic, the time of day, peculiar hazards etc.
The accompanying offence of driving without reasonable consideration then it must be shown that some other person using the road was inconvenienced. The classic on this are pedestrians who are deliberately sprayed with water from a puddle at the side of the road.
Now we could go on all day, and PU will bear me out what is and what isn't.
Taking the example you quote then compare this with the first para above. Prudent ???? A potential danger signed but ignored and no reduction in speed. AIM - fail.
This is why I remain somewhat sceptical when it is stated that no need for Hand held legislation (an absolute offence - no argument) as opposed for doing without and resorting to existing argueable legislation on the books.
Just a mention on enforcement. For a law to be enforceable it has been said then when considered 80 - 85% will obey otherwise it really is a no no. From the posts on this Forum from Englands best drivers then I would submit the concensus of opinion is that the law is required on the grounds of safety. For the initial days Plod will concentrate on enforcing by warning or otherwise, to get the message across and support the current education campaign. Afterwards, another piece of ever increasing legislation to be dealt with as when and maybe the odd special campaign. So there will be no march of jackboots.
Remember 1967 when the Drink Drive came in?. High Streets at night were cleared of parked cars and now? Now, there is a stigma attached to the offence. If the same can be achieved on hand held we will all benefit.
PS. Elsewhere same subject: The Merchant Banker on the Motorway initial thought - Common Law conduct likely to cause a Breach of the Peace and a bind over to be of good behaviour. Had something very similar when I was Country beatman. (Please don't ask me what one of those were).
Driving along a free-flowing 3-lane motorway, the matrix signs started to suggest lower speeds because an off-slip ahead was closed. As is usual, the recommended speed in the inside lane were lower than the outside, but just before the closure the inside lane had an advisory speed of 20mph.......
One morning this spring I was driving up the M25 anti-clockwise to catch a flight from Luton airport. Having passed the Dartford tunnel there were suddenly a series of matrix signs saying "M25 closed at J24" (or something like that). Oh well, good I was leaving a lot of time, will just have to go the North Circular instead - so off I went down the A12, via the NCR and out the A1/M1... and needless to say it all took longer...
but I did catch the flight! with about 5 mins to spare. And it was only a short trip so the shortstay P fees weren't too bad.
Now the moral of the story is of course that the M25 was not closed at all, but it took until I had nearly regained the M1 (was at this point stuck in the NCR permanent jam down to Henly's corner) before the radio managed to say anything about the false message on the matrix signs.
If I had missed the flight, I could potentially have lost a major business opportunity. Although of course, nothing is guaranteed in terms of travel time (and therefore, I had left myself three hours to drive about 100 miles, almost all of it on motorway, plus the hour to check in), surely somebody must be liable for putting up completely fraudulent information on these signs?
(I'm not so worried about the frequently occurring "SLOW DOWN CONGESTION AFTER NEXT JUNCTION" signs after J8, at 5 in the morning. I have learnt to filter those out, now.)