REGARDING the ‘view from the editor’ column, Warrington Guardian, February 6, you question the use of electronic signs on the motorway network but I can reassure you and your readers that electronic signs are not set thoughtlessly.
Signs along the M6, M56 and M62 around Warrington are set by traffic officers at the Highways Agency’s regional control centre at Newton-le-Willows or by colleagues at the National Traffic Operations Centre near Birmingham.
Some signs are also set automatically with sensors in the road triggering warnings of slowing traffic and queues ahead.
‘Take a break’ signs are often set routinely on the approach to motorway services to remind drivers they do have an opportunity to pull in and rest for a while.
Unfortunately, fatigue during long distance journeys is often a factor in motorway accidents involving fatalities and serious injuries. We also use this kind of messaging to coincide with broader national campaigns.
In the case of signs warning of animals and pedestrians we only set specific signs when we have verified a report.
Of course, animals and pedestrians can sometimes disappear from the carriageway as quickly as they have appeared but the aim is to alert drivers that someone or a stray animal is in the road or hard shoulder and that other motorway users maybe suddenly braking or swerving. We will clear such warnings as soon as we can.
Anyone seeking further information or wishing to comment (we welcome feedback from road users) can visit highways.gov.uk, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 123 5000, our 24-hour information line.
Neil Sterio Highways Agency Manchester