Purpose built wider single carriage ways

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    Joanne Glen

    We are currently looking at ways to educate drivers that use purpose built wider single carriage ways.

    The biggest issues we are witnessing are with the carriage way being wider, persons driving  large slower vehicles or at slower speeds tend to either sit in the middle or to the left of the lane (perfectly acceptable), which other vehicle users then overtake the slower ones making a 3rd lane down the middle of the two carriage ways straddling the broken white.

    The message we are looking to get across is all about overtaking: to overtake only when safe to do so; understanding and knowing what lineage on the road means; use of indicators and mirrors; and to not dominate the road when overtaking, making the imaginary 3rd lane their own; and drive to the condition of the road.

    Do you have or do you know of anyone you can put us in contact with who has a film/ animation that already covers the above, and that they’d be happy for us to use?  Saves us trying to reinvent the wheel when something has already been produced and worked. We look forward to hearing from you.


    I dont have a contact but I am really pleased to see this being reviewed. There are many areas where this happens across the UK on significant roads – A46 at Stratford and more locally to me A303 where there have been several serious incidents. I wonder if National Highways could give you more information – as those roads are under their control. I look forward to reading more about it.

    Andy Garden

    Was I the only one who had a shiver when I read about wider roads, recalling the three-lane roads where both directions thought they had priority and the devastation they caused in the middle, not least in deciding who had priority and the subsequent challenges of enforcement.

    IMHO, it would be naive to imagine designing a road capable of taking three lanes of traffic and then expecting drivers not to maximise the potential and resist the use of those three lanes. If it can, then it most likely will happen.

    Norfolk used to have quite a few 3 lane roads, I seem to recall a combination of edge lining, central markings has eventually rescued them back to two lanes, but the local teams may be able to advise on the pros and cons of such roads.

    Perhaps, instead of making the roads wider, and using the example of creating 3 lanes when overtaking slower vehicles (And there is always someone going slower!!!), we can create more passing points so that the likes of agricultural vehicles could pull over and reduce delay frustrations more frequently, it may be an easier, cheaper and quicker solution.

    Andrew Fraser

    As far as I can recall, the County Surveyors’ Society’s Environment Committee Accident Reduction Working Group looked at the safety of wide single 2-lane carriageways around 1995. Its survey apparently found that, despite problems with overtaking accidents, WS2 roads in the UK had a good overall safety record; most of them had as good a record as an ‘average’ dual carriageway.

    It would be interesting, and wise, I suggest, given the concerns expressed above, to review the matter properly before going ahead with some campaign or other. In the first place, it would be interesting to learn whether the roads in question have been designed in accordance with the current standard:


    The inevitable question is, however, who will fund a proper study, as opposed to a mere “survey”?

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