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#1 04-05-12 11:47:48

Lady-Hynarc
Verified Member
Registered: 09-04-12
Posts: 649

Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

I am revamping my lesson plan for dual carriageways so I started, as always, by just refreshing myself about the law regarding them.  So I'm now confused.  Now I know I should have known this from the start but perhaps being a 'bear of very little brain' I had not quite joined all the dots. 

The Highway Code says... "A dual carriageway is a road which has a central reservation to separate the carriageways." - a statement which is abundantly clear...or is it?  So what is a central reservation?  How wide does it have to be?  Is there a minimum and a maximum size?  Is there a minimum length (e.g., would the approah to a roundabout or traffic lights qualify?)  Does it have to have a barrier? 

There are single lane dual carriageways.  Does that actually make sense?  I've never thought of them like that.  Am I wrong?

Possibly the most important question though is this.  What !!!!!!!! difference does it make whether it is a dual carriageway or not?  Apart from a default speed limit, which can be overruled by specific speed limits in place on the road, there doesn't seem to be any significant difference between a dual carriageway and any other kind of carriageway.  Or am I missing something?

Thoughts anyone?

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Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused



#2 04-05-12 13:34:35

MGM
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 24-10-11
Posts: 861

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

So far as I know, there is no specified size for the central reservation. There is certainly no requirement for a barrier. There can be one, two or more lanes.

The fact that there is a physical separation means that there are two distinct carriageways, and all the vehicles on each carriageway are (or at least should be) travelling in the same direction. Therefore, all things being equal, it is safer than the equivalent single carriageway, which presumably is the rationale for the higher default speed limit.

Your question about short lengths of road such as the approaches to roundabouts is a fair one, but in practice does it make any difference whether we call these a DC or not?

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#3 04-05-12 13:36:42

(ROG)
Verified Member
From: LEICESTER
Registered: 23-08-10
Posts: 1,551

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Lady-Hynarc wrote:

I am revamping my lesson plan for dual carriageways so I started, as always, by just refreshing myself about the law regarding them.  So I'm now confused.  Now I know I should have known this from the start but perhaps being a 'bear of very little brain' I had not quite joined all the dots. 

The Highway Code says... "A dual carriageway is a road which has a central reservation to separate the carriageways." - a statement which is abundantly clear...or is it?  So what is a central reservation?  How wide does it have to be?  Is there a minimum and a maximum size?  Is there a minimum length (e.g., would the approah to a roundabout or traffic lights qualify?)  Does it have to have a barrier? 

There are single lane dual carriageways.  Does that actually make sense?  I've never thought of them like that.  Am I wrong?

Possibly the most important question though is this.  What !!!!!!!! difference does it make whether it is a dual carriageway or not?  Apart from a default speed limit, which can be overruled by specific speed limits in place on the road, there doesn't seem to be any significant difference between a dual carriageway and any other kind of carriageway.  Or am I missing something?

Thoughts anyone?

Barrier is defined as something other than paint or cones and excludes periodic crossing points or traffic islands

DUAL means SEPERATED traffic flows so one lane in each direction seperated by a barrier is a DUAL carriageway

Has that answered your question?


IAM Observer
Leicester group of advanced motorists
LGV instructor from 2005 to 2008

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#4 04-05-12 13:49:43

reddragonbus
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 05-02-06
Posts: 1,653

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

The opposing traffic needs to be separated by more than paint.

If you can stand on one side of road and roll a tennis ball across to the other kerb it is not a dual carriageway.


The reason the speed limit is higher on a dual carriageway being you should not meet anything coming the other direction.

Last edited by reddragonbus (04-05-12 13:51:57)


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#5 04-05-12 18:32:06

kaf
Verified Member
From: Wiltshire
Registered: 05-08-07
Posts: 3,324
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

It can either be 'land' or it has to be a permanent physical barrier, ie concrete or armco etc.  A grass strip is 'land' and will suffice.

As other have stated things like cones, ghost islands etc are not sufficient.

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#6 04-05-12 19:05:10

pegasus
Verified Member
From: north west
Registered: 25-02-05
Posts: 3,297

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

hi

Lady-Hynarc wrote:

The Highway Code says... "A dual carriageway is a road which has a central reservation to separate the carriageways." - a statement which is abundantly clear...or is it?  So what is a central reservation?  How wide does it have to be?  Is there a minimum and a maximum size?  Is there a minimum length (e.g., would the approah to a roundabout or traffic lights qualify?)

Interesting that no one has tackled the question of a minimum length.
It is fairly obvious that the shorter lengths approaching and leaving Rbts etc are such that the limit would be immaterial as you couldnt generally be anywhere near that speed anyway.
But I seem to recall an article in one of the trade papers recently which showed lengths of DC that appeared to be between 200 and 300 yds in length but which don't have the normal red-on-white DC ahead sign.

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#7 04-05-12 19:16:55

MGM
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 24-10-11
Posts: 861

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

pegasus wrote:

hi

Lady-Hynarc wrote:

The Highway Code says... "A dual carriageway is a road which has a central reservation to separate the carriageways." - a statement which is abundantly clear...or is it?  So what is a central reservation?  How wide does it have to be?  Is there a minimum and a maximum size?  Is there a minimum length (e.g., would the approah to a roundabout or traffic lights qualify?)

Interesting that no one has tackled the question of a minimum length.
It is fairly obvious that the shorter lengths approaching and leaving Rbts etc are such that the limit would be immaterial as you couldnt generally be anywhere near that speed anyway.
But I seem to recall an article in one of the trade papers recently which showed lengths of DC that appeared to be between 200 and 300 yds in length but which don't have the normal red-on-white DC ahead sign.

Which red-on-white sign is that then? Around here they're white on blue.

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#8 04-05-12 19:38:41

RobC
Verified Member
From: Nr Ormskirk Lancs
Registered: 28-01-09
Posts: 765
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

A common misconception about dual carriageways is that they are two lane in each direction roads, whilst they can have one, two or more carriageways in each direction as long as the carriageways have a physical grass, concrete or barrier separation. Important to know where NSL's apply.


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#9 04-05-12 20:25:35

pegasus
Verified Member
From: north west
Registered: 25-02-05
Posts: 3,297

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Hi MGM
Sorry that was a typo should have been White on Red, A worded sign "Dual Carriageway Ahead".
Which white on blue sign are you refering to? Is it the "Keep Left" arrow (HC page 107, 3rd row) seen at the start of the reservation?

Last edited by pegasus (04-05-12 20:26:23)

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#10 04-05-12 20:34:36

Roadmaster
Verified Member
Registered: 04-03-04
Posts: 5,670

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

RobC wrote:

........whilst they can have one, two or more carriageways in each direction ........

Do you mean they can have one two or more LANES in each direction?

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#11 04-05-12 20:43:38

RobC
Verified Member
From: Nr Ormskirk Lancs
Registered: 28-01-09
Posts: 765
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Roadmaster wrote:
RobC wrote:

........whilst they can have one, two or more carriageways in each direction ........

Do you mean they can have one two or more LANES in each direction?


Two carriageways for traffic travelling in opposite directions separated by a central reservation.  Can be any number of lanes.


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#12 04-05-12 20:57:05

hoylake
Verified Member
From: Heysham
Registered: 21-09-07
Posts: 1,435
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Roadmaster wrote:
RobC wrote:

........whilst they can have one, two or more carriageways in each direction ........

Do you mean they can have one two or more LANES in each direction?

John Farlam incorrectly states that " dual carriageways have two or more lanes in each direction" in his SmartLearners handout.  hmm  Unbelievable.


http://www.sophiesdrivinglancaster.co.uk
Adi & Fleet Trainer, RoSPA Gold

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#13 04-05-12 20:59:35

hoylake
Verified Member
From: Heysham
Registered: 21-09-07
Posts: 1,435
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

pegasus wrote:

Hi MGM
Sorry that was a typo should have been White on Red, A worded sign "Dual Carriageway Ahead".
Which white on blue sign are you refering to? Is it the "Keep Left" arrow (HC page 107, 3rd row) seen at the start of the reservation?


MGM is referring to the information sign on page 114 of KNOW YOUR TRAFFIC SIGNS.

it's on page 80 of the older, better version.


http://www.sophiesdrivinglancaster.co.uk
Adi & Fleet Trainer, RoSPA Gold

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#14 05-05-12 05:24:38

MGM
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 24-10-11
Posts: 861

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

hoylake wrote:
pegasus wrote:

Hi MGM
Sorry that was a typo should have been White on Red, A worded sign "Dual Carriageway Ahead".
Which white on blue sign are you refering to? Is it the "Keep Left" arrow (HC page 107, 3rd row) seen at the start of the reservation?


MGM is referring to the information sign on page 114 of KNOW YOUR TRAFFIC SIGNS.

it's on page 80 of the older, better version.

I was indeed. I don't recall ever seeing a white on red one.

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#15 07-05-12 16:06:20

Driver99
Member
Registered: 21-01-11
Posts: 264

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Are contributors saying you need a "Dual Carriageway Ahead" sign to create a DC, irrespective of lanes/separator?

I don't think the sign is mandatory?

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#16 07-05-12 17:41:49

kaf
Verified Member
From: Wiltshire
Registered: 05-08-07
Posts: 3,324
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Driver99 wrote:

Are contributors saying you need a "Dual Carriageway Ahead" sign to create a DC, irrespective of lanes/separator?

I don't think the sign is mandatory?

No, if you have the central divide it is de facto a DC

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#17 07-05-12 19:16:54

pegasus
Verified Member
From: north west
Registered: 25-02-05
Posts: 3,297

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Hi Kaf
OK but we still haven't decided if there is a minimum length.

Lets start at 1000m (1km) that must be long enough, but what about 500m or 100m or 50m or 10 m even?
There must be a point at which a traffic island becomes a continuous central reservation

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#18 07-05-12 19:17:11

Driver99
Member
Registered: 21-01-11
Posts: 264

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

kaf wrote:
Driver99 wrote:

Are contributors saying you need a "Dual Carriageway Ahead" sign to create a DC, irrespective of lanes/separator?

I don't think the sign is mandatory?

No, if you have the central divide it is de facto a DC

Ta.

So, just for completeness, after the 610 Keep Left arrow, it's technically 70 mph till the "Two-way Traffic" sign on this view, if anyone asked?:

Bit of the A49

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#19 07-05-12 19:28:37

MGM
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 24-10-11
Posts: 861

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

pegasus wrote:

Hi Kaf
OK but we still haven't decided if there is a minimum length.

Lets start at 1000m (1km) that must be long enough, but what about 500m or 100m or 50m or 10 m even?
There must be a point at which a traffic island becomes a continuous central reservation

Does it matter? Unless I'm missing something (which is entirely possible) the only difference is whether the speed limit is 60 or 70, and on a 100m stretch approaching a roundabout that's rarely going to be an issue.

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#20 07-05-12 20:45:50

KevB
Verified Member
From: Amesbury
Registered: 06-06-08
Posts: 1,725
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Highway Guidance is to put up advisory "Dual Carriagway Ahead" signage where it is considered safer to discourage overtaking before the start of the dual carriageway.
By adding in the signage, drivers are more likely to defer an overtake until the dual carriageway begins.
There is no obligation for any of the Highway Agencies to forwarn drivers of a dual carriageway.

I've driven along several dual carriageways in cities that have dual carriageways of 100 metres or so.  Typically they have incuded at least one 30mph repeater either at the start, or clearly visible from the start of the fixed barrier.

KevB.

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#21 07-05-12 22:18:07

pegasus
Verified Member
From: north west
Registered: 25-02-05
Posts: 3,297

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

Hi

MGM wrote:

Does it matter? Unless I'm missing something (which is entirely possible) the only difference is whether the speed limit is 60 or 70, and on a 100m stretch approaching a roundabout that's rarely going to be an issue.

I suspect that it might matter.

I know of at least one stretch of road, about 4mls in length which is SC for most of this distance but with a number of 100 to 200 yd lengths of DC.
As it happens all these lengths of DC are where there are junctions and the authorities have actually signed the whole distance as 60mph complete with repeaters, apparently in order to prevent people speeding up from 60 to 70 through those junctions.

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#22 07-05-12 22:20:32

smithwold
Verified Member
From: Berkshire
Registered: 18-08-07
Posts: 716
Website

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

There is a short D/c in Laleham, Staines, Middlesex that is less than 50 meters long, more like 30-40. Single lane, going into a housing estate and is 30mph.
Black and White sign stating d/c.

Another road in Slough has for the duration of approx 20 meters a central reservation but not signed as a d/c.

Maybe there is a minimum?

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#23 08-05-12 06:16:26

reddragonbus
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 05-02-06
Posts: 1,653

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

The national speed limit does not apply automatically by default, there is no need to post a speed limit on entering a dual carriageway. If you are driving around a town in a 30 zone you cannot boot it to 70 just because there is an island in the middle of the road.

There should be signs on entering and leaving a dual carriageway.

In Edinburgh there are lots of urban dual carriageways.

One is two lanes in each direction and is over a mile long, it has street lights and is part of a 30 zone. The police love this stretch of road with their "safety camera" van.

The A71 calder road is a two lane dual carriageway with a 40 limit, there is a road leading off the A71 which is a two lane dual carriageway with a 20mph speed limit!


I think there is some confusion about traffic islands, the presence of a traffic island doesn't automatically create a dual carriageway, the A68 Dalkeith bypass has long traffic islands to prevent traffic turning right onto or off of this road at the junctions. But you find this type of island at lots of junctions, it is clearly not a dual carriageway simply a traffic management measure.


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#24 08-05-12 06:19:42

reddragonbus
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 05-02-06
Posts: 1,653

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

A68 junction with central division:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=eh22&hl … 2,315,,0,0

This is a NSL single carriageway, the island is to prevent traffic attempting to turn right.


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#25 08-05-12 06:22:04

reddragonbus
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 05-02-06
Posts: 1,653

Re: Dual Carriageways - I'm Confused

The same road with 3 lanes just south of the junction, many drivers think this is a "dual carriageway" so do 70+mph.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=eh22&hl … ,22.5&z=13


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