A concealed entrance/exit to a property is one that is obscured from the normal public highway. Thus when vehicles are using this slip road or driveway, especially when exiting the property, this can create a number of difficulties for their drivers. The two biggest problems presented by this scenario are alerting oncoming traffic to the presence of the concealed entrance/exit, and allowing the driver of the exiting vehicle sufficient visibility of said traffic to make the correct and safe decisions as to when and how to make their move onto the road. Are there any ways that a concealed entrance/exit could be made safer?
When drivers are using a concealed entrance/exit, particularly those that are on curved pieces of road, getting out of the property can often be extremely problematic. As other drivers have no idea that a vehicle is trying to use the exit, they are unlikely to extend any courtesy towards it in terms of slowing down or even stopping to allow the driver to manoeuvre onto the road. Here, mirrors can give the driver looking to use the exit a good view of vehicles on the road, allowing them to make the right driving decisions. Convex mirrors are preferred as they give an idea of the traffic coming in both directions, whilst the view presented by flat mirrors is considered to be extremely limited. Such mirrors are usually supplied as discs that are around 2-3ft in diameter, which come complete with a special bracket that allows them to be fixed to stationary posts or poles.
Just as mirrors are used to help vehicles using a concealed entrance/exit, signs can be used to alert other drivers to their presence. These should be mounted at sufficient height for drivers to see them from a distance and use reflective paint and bright colours that can be viewed in poor visibility and in the dark. It may also be beneficial to place no parking signs around a concealed entrance/exit, as parked vehicles could further impede the visibility of a driver who is using the turning.
Believe it or not many local authorities have policies in place that do not allow concealed entrance/exit warning signs and mirrors on public roads. They claim that whilst convex mirrors can help cars that are trying to drive out of a concealed exit, these can actually cause problems for motorists using the road in a normal fashion as they can distort the driver’s view of traffic. However, it is possible to mount any kinds of signs and mirrors on private land, so if owners of a property with a concealed entrance/exit may want to come to an arrangement with their neighbours, allowing them to mount the right kind of mirrors and warning signs to ensure that the safety of vehicles using a concealed entrance/exit. If these are mounted illegally on the public highway then they are likely to be removed at some stage by the authorities, which could put landowners at a great inconvenience. It is therefore better to find a long term solution with other property owners in the area, rather than hoping that the signs go unnoticed.
If your concealed entrance/exit is being used by a number of large agricultural or industrial vehicles on a regular basis and is on a main road that is used by a high number of vehicles then it is possible to speak to the Department of Transport with a view to getting a sign installed. This is not something that can be signed off by the local authorities, although they may be willing to help land and property owners liaise with the Department of Transport to help get the appropriate signage in place. However, there have been a number of small cases in the media where the council have agreed to help landowners in places that have seen a drastic rise in traffic, and yet have failed to help them get the right kind of signs installed. Ultimately it is still preferential to find an agreement with other landowners to try to get the right kind of warning signs in place.
If you are the owner of a property that uses a concealed entrance/exit, then we’d suggest that you purchase a car in a bright colour such as red, yellow or gold and avoid the more fashionable, neutral tones that are popular at the moment. Although this might mean that your vehicle isn’t as cool as it could be, it does mean that other drivers are more likely to notice it when you’re making your way onto the main road.
If you are regularly using a concealed entrance/exit onto your property then the most important thing is remembering to keep a high level of care a diligence about the way in which you use this driveway or slip road. Most road accidents happen within 1.4 miles of a driver’s residence, as they often feel that they don’t have to worry on roads with which they are very familiar. Remember that other drivers don’t share the same knowledge as you so make sure that you treat every instance of using your concealed entrance/exit with the same care and attention you did the first time.