New roads to be designed to stimulate drivers

Staff writer
File photo dated 16/08/13 of drivers on a motorway, as Chancellor Phillip Hammond will deliver his budget later today.

In a bid to prevent motorists from falling asleep at the wheel on a dull, grey motorway, Highways England has announced plans to design roads with 'eye-catching vistas'. It's claimed that making roads more interesting to drive on could combat driver fatigue, and therefore increase safety.

Mike Wilson, chief engineer of Highways England said the plans would "create different vistas, different environments for people to consider." The picturesque additions would be implemented as part of £15 billion worth of road improvements over the next three years.

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Speaking to motoring magazine Auto Express, Wilson said that the plans would be a way of stimulating the road user. "You might argue that they're safer because of it," he said.

Concerns that drivers might become distracted by interesting views were put to rest, too. "Pleasing views and statement structures such as the Angel of the North can help drivers stay awake, and make them feel they're making progress on their journey."

Government statistics show 67 people were killed and 479 were seriously injured on UK roads in incidents in 2016 where fatigue was a contributing factor.

Highways England also unveiled ten principles for new road designs, with a view to making them sustainable, environmentally friendly, innovative and long-lasting. Cost was also a factor, with Wilson claiming the price of road schemes could be reduced "if good design is at the heart of the process.