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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70511
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I was driving in Leicester on A6, far from home; a sign announced

Customer Question

I was driving in Leicester on A6, far from home; a sign announced closed the road I was going to; I felt lost! I know very little about Leicester roads. Another sign said a diversion had been organised; that could be my life-saver! At the top of the hill, SUDDENLY I saw a diversion sign pointing right. Since traffic light was green, I went thru and turned right; I hit car coming from opposite direction!! I do not deny responsibility: in retrospect, my lane was for traffic going FORWARD only, I had misinterpreted the diversion sign as allowing me to turn right. Is it possible TO KNOW if legislation rules that diversion signs set on multi-lane roads (A6) have to warn drivers to get into the correct lane WELL BEFORE they reach the diversion; or to tell them that the diversion is an 'x' number of yards away? If I had been warned, I would select the right lane (allowing a right turn). Instead I was surprised to see, in retrospect, that out of the 3 lanes leading to the diversion sign, only 1 is dedicated to those turning right! Therefore for drivers of the 2 forward lanes, the diversion sign is a bit of a joke: they have to ignore it, to keep going forward, to find a way to come back, then finally to turn into the diversion!!! Why tell drivers a diversion is available, if it is too late for those in forward lane to make use of the info? Have they in Leicester followed the right procedure? Think of motorways: drivers are warned 1 mile prior to exits that an exit is coming, so they can select the correct lane before reaching the exit; the exit doesn't come suddenly by surprise, causing them to break heavily, with a risk of being hit, or coming suddenly across the way of traffic on their left. In my opinion, though I do not deny responsibility, if I can prove that the diversion sign was improperly set up, that could be a mitigating factor in the court proceedings.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Have the Leicester traffic authorities followed the correct procedure in setting up the diversion signs? Are they not obliged to let drivers know that a diversion is organised, say, at an 'x' yards distance?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, it depends. It isn't really clear from what you say what the signs did say. It is always difficult to tell unless you can actually see the signs.
They are under an obligation to erect signs that amount to ‘adequate guidance’ under S85 Road Traffic Act.
'Adequate guidance' has been interpreted by case law to mean a number of things. Most of the case in which it was considered relate to speeding but the principle is the same. For many years we all thought it demanded complete compliance with the rules and any imperfection allowed a speeding motorist to escape but the recent case of Peake has effectively said that any sign that would be seen by the reasonably observant motorist should be followed.
That said, you are not charged with S36 RTA of failing to follow a sign. You will be charged with driving without due care and attention which is a different point entirely. I suppose it is worth raising this though because they will be saying it is an aggravating feature that you ignored a prohibition.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

May I know what penalty 'Driving without due care and attention' in general entails? Can I be banned from driving?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You can be banned but it is unlikely. If this is damage only collision then they will not disqualify you. It is much more likely that you would get points upon your licence. They can add 3 to 9 points.
There would also be a fine and court costs of £85 plus the victim surcharge.
Jo C. and 2 other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As stated in my first mail, I was on a dual carriageway; when I saw a diversion sign pointing to the right, I turned right and I hit a driver coming from the opposite direction.

My question is: is there a reason why a diversion sign cannot lawfully overrule the rule that in a forward only lane you have to proceed forward only? (A change in the 'ordinary' rules is what happens on motorways, anytime diversion signs are displayed and allow drivers to use e.g. the hard shoulder in breach of the 'ordinary' rules. Am I wrong?). Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes. It wouldn't comply with S36 RTA as I explained above.
A diversion onto the motorway is not contrary to a prohibitive sign.