Driving expert defends new Camelon junction

Following the Highway Code will see you tackle the junction safely
Following the Highway Code will see you tackle the junction safely
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Some drivers are struggling to cope with the newly installed traffic lights outside a recently opened supermarket.

There have been reports of near misses as shoppers enter and exit Tesco in Glasgow Road, Camelon.

But this week a driving expert said while it was a tricky junction, if motorists followed the Highway Code they should be able to negotiate the area safely.

Problems appear to arise when the lights show green for vehicles coming out of Watling Street, opposite the new store, at the same time as vehicles leaving Tesco are given the go-head to move. Many drivers seem unsure of who has the right of way.

But Falkirk Council’s road infrastructure officials said new traffic lights and junctions often cause motorists confusion in the weeks following installation.

Camelon councillor Gerry Goldie raised the issue with them after concerns were voiced to him over the area.

He said: “I’ve been assured this is something that often happens with new supermarkets and similar problems arose when Asda in Grangemouth first opened. People can be a bit unsure of what to do but I’ve been told it should settle down.

“Tesco paid for the road improvements and there is enough time when the lights change for both lines of traffic to move safely. However, our officials have promised to go out and take another look to ensure that it is all working as it should.”

The issue prompted heated debate on The Falkirk Herald’s Facebook page with Claire Dickson writing: “I have said from the day Tesco opened that the junction coming out of Tesco’s is an accident waiting to happen. The timing of the lights has not been thought through at all. The traffic coming from Watling Street assumes it has right of way crossing the junction, however, the traffic from Tesco car park also assume they have right of way to turn both directions.”

Agreeing with her, Tam Gentles said: “Had the same problem if going straight over from Watling Street or opposite. Cars are cutting across in front of you, near miss a few times. And if I’m right, those turning should give way to those going straight on.”

But one motorist who was unimpressed with the comments was Kris Rexter, who posted: “It’s just a crossroads with traffic lights. Buy the Highway Coded it’s only £2.50. It’s easy, if still not sure take a driving lesson.”

This week, the site was visited by Angus Maciver, chairman of Forth Valley Institute of Advance Motorists, who said that he saw one near-miss in the time he was there, as well as several drivers unsure of who had right of way.

He said: “It is a very complex junction covering quite a large area. One of the problems seems to be motorists leaving Tesco are not signalling which isn’t helpful to other road users.”

Mr Maciver added motorists should pay heed to the relevant sections of the Highway Code – outlined below – to negotiate the junction properly.

The driving expert said: “If drivers follow ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ then that also helps.”

How to tackle junction:

Firstly pay heed to section 170 which states ‘‘Take extra care at junctions’’.

Then follow section 181, which advises that, when turning right at crossroads where an oncoming vehicle is also turning right, there is a choice of two methods.

The first is to turn right side to right side, keeping the other vehicle on your right and turning behind it. This is generally the safer method as you have a clear view of any approaching traffic when completing your turn.

The other option is to turn, left side to left side, in front of each other. This can block your view of oncoming vehicles, so take extra care. Cyclists and motorcyclists in particular may be hidden from your view. Road layout, markings or how the other vehicle is positioned can determine which course should be taken.