Why are motorway matrix signs so unreliable?

BTB 500

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We do a lot of motorway driving early on Saturday and Sunday mornings (on the way to dog shows). Mostly M3, M4, M25, M23, M1, M40.

I would say almost every trip we get a totally spurious warning or speed limit from the orange matrix signs. Last Saturday on a deserted M4 at about 7AM it was "Caution 60 mph" then "Caution 40 mph" ... then nothing. Needless to say the motorway was totally clear, no evidence of there ever having been any kind of problem. Nothing on RDS.

Another time we were in bright sunshine mid-afternoon and got "FOG" displayed?!

Why do they display rubbish so often? Nobody seems to take any notice of them ... which is hardly surprising.

The gantry signs on the M25 seem much more reliable ... lane closure warnings etc. are generally correct.
 

troiscentmille

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In the hilly sections of the West Midlands they used to put "caution queue" up when there was a slow ol' double decker bus about. Again and again this happened and I thought it just negated the impact of the warning. Most people could see the Bright red bus I would have hoped!
 

whitenemesis

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Agree! Totally negates the impact of having the signs, as people just know from experience they are going to be wrong.

Equally annoying are contractors who leave road signs behind weeks, months after work is completed!! They should be prosecuted for mis-information...
 

Roger Jones

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A friend of mine works for Serco, a company steeped in signs, cameras, etc. He assures me that the system depends on prompt reporting of changed road conditions by the police and their helpers, and prompt implementation of the information by those controlling the signs. Thus, there are at least two opportunities for those involved to be slow, lazy, forgetful, negligent, etc.

It often seems that those in charge are not taking the matter seriously. As suggested above, apart from immediate and transitory annoyance, false information undermines the long-term credibility of the whole system.
 

robert.saunders

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Many of the matrix signs are also automatic, dependant upon their criteria for activation, especially speed/flow sensors, weather sensors etc
 

Meldrew2

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They are just another example of "the Boy who cried Wolf".

When they are really needed, nobody will be paying attention.


.
 

davidjpowell

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I remember one sign on the A1, between Wetherby and the M1 junction which was talking about delays in the Sheffield area, and suggesting drivers use A1 M62. All very good, apart from the fact that the Highways Agency diversion took drivers away from the clear part of the route, and deposited them back on the M1 above where the delays were...
 

markmifsud

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last week I was driving up the M11, well I was at J1 and saw a cyclist riding up on the hard shoulder. I reported this to the Police, who said they would send a patrol car to intervene. 20 miles further up, the signage was displaying "SLOW, pedestrian on the carrageway"
 

rf065

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I don't know why you are all complaining?
Without these helpful signs, I would not know that tiredness can kill, or that I should check my fuel. I find them invaluable. :wallbash:

Russ
 

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whats the point of the "dont take drugs and drive" or "dont drink and drive" signs? surly anyone who needs to take notice of them wont be able to focus on all that blurred text.... :p
 

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A number of these signs are activated by a police officer that sees an obstruction, or hazard, then they all forget to switch them off when the hazrad has been removed. These are the same officers that will report us for driving with an indicator left on, or your rear high intensity lights left on when not required.

As folks have already said it is now gone past the stage of crying wolf and I think the only driver I know that still complies with these warnings ....... Is my wife :devil: She will drive for miles at the advisory speed limit with cars flying by us and me laying in the back of our limo chuntering like a grumpy old man and my chaffuer will be criticising all the drivers that go by us :)

It is my pet hate and something should have been done about this years ago
 

KillerHERTZ

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whats the point of the "dont take drugs and drive" or "dont drink and drive" signs? surly anyone who needs to take notice of them wont be able to focus on all that blurred text.... :p

Exactly, should they think, oh I have been taking drugs I think I will pull over and walk the rest of the way.

Bit late displaying this information when you are already on the motorway. If you dont know already that drugs/drink & drive dont mix, you shouldnt be in the car in the 1st place.
 

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I've often asked the same question about inappropriate and misleading signage on motorways.
Usually, no one takes a bit of notice of the advisory speed limits.
The system has been brought into disrepute and has largely lost credibility.
Pity - When it actually could be a major benefit.

Johnsco
 

Robbie T

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On the M25 sat at a standstill i often see the ones that say "40" and think i wish ...
 

Dryce

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Why do they display rubbish so often? Nobody seems to take any notice of them ... which is hardly surprising.

Few times that I've seen specific incident and delay information posted on the ones for the A9 / M9 the information has been inaccurate or too vague.

(eg. indicating a northbound accident on the A9 at some location 50 to 100 miles north - duhhhh? What use is that - is there even a delay, will it be cleared by the time I arrive, should I find an alternative route?)

I get the impression they're updated just for the sake of sticking something on them regardless of its usefulness. And then they're forgotten about and the useless information becomes stale useless information.

I ignore them now unless they're stating a road is actually closed. And even then I still like to have a second source to verify the information before altering my intended journey.
 
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BTB 500

BTB 500

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Can you believe it ... same stretch of M4 (near Reading services) at 7:30 this morning and "60 queue" showing on the matrix boards. Road was completely clear.
 
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BTB 500

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Aargh ... M4 again today at 07:30, coming on from the A329M. "60" on the matrix sign on the slip road, followed by "40 caution queue" on the motorway.

No queue and after a couple of miles the signs stopped.
 

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I don't know why you are all complaining?
Without these helpful signs, I would not know that tiredness can kill, or that I should check my fuel. I find them invaluable. :wallbash:

Russ

I particularly like the 'check your fuel' sign - surely a cue to pull over onto the hard shoulder and get the chemistry set out to analyse the contents of your tank ?

Or what about " Use Both Lanes " - you could comply with this one by swerving wildly from one lane to the other .
 

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