A361 red route exhibition

First published in Taunton Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

THE A361 Taunton-Ashcott road has been designated a red route, with a mix of engineering works and education aimed at cutting the number of people hurt in accidents.

Details of the proposals will go on show at an exhibition in Othery Village Hall from 3-7pm on Wednesday, March 18.

Visitors will be able to discuss the plans with Somerset County Council highways engineers and road safety officers.

They will also have the chance to take a free assessment drive in their own car with an expert instructor who will give them feedback and, if necessary, suggest how they can improve their driving technique.

The number of assessment drives will be limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Several major roads, including the A37, A38 and sections of the A39 and A358, west of Bridgwater and Taunton, have already been included in the red routes initiative to make the county’s roads safer for all users.

It is claimed that the range of engineering and education measures has helped reduce casualties in many areas.

Terry Beale, of the Somerset Road Safety Partnership, said: “We hope as many people as possible will come along to the exhibition so we can explain what we are trying to do and they can give us their views on what they see as the problems on these routes.”

As part of the initiative, temporary information signs are installed along red routes giving casualty information data and reminding drivers to take care.

Each route has its own leaflet highlighting where collisions occur, why they happen and giving information and advice to drivers.

An important element of the red routes programme is driver education.

Mr Beale said: “We can take action to highlight areas of potential danger such as sharp bends, emerging junctions and narrow roads.

“But extra chevrons and white lines, and high visibility markers at junctions, will not stop crashes unless drivers take more care.

“Around 90% of crashes are the result of driver error. For this reason driver education has to be a major element in the campaign to reduce high casualty rates.

“That is why the package of engineering measures, is backed up by running driver awareness courses in locations along or close to the red routes.

“The driver awareness workshops are friendly interactive discussion groups which have been highly-praised by residents in other parts of the county.

“They give road users an opportunity to update their knowledge of current issues and in doing so, hopefully, make them better drivers.”

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