Right of Way Signage on One-Way Bridges Confusing for Drivers Skip to content

Right of Way Signage on One-Way Bridges Confusing for Drivers

Traffic signs showing what driving direction has the right of way are not clear enough for use on Iceland’s one-way bridges. Vísir reports that the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration is considering whether they should change look of the sign in order to ensure that there is no doubt about whether drivers should wait for oncoming traffic or proceed first across a one-way bridge.

In its review of the traffic code, the Road Administration also presented other ideas on things like the unified speed limit for all vehicles. According to some who participated in the review, Iceland’s road system can’t support heavy transport travelling at that speed. Road shoulders in poor condition along the Ring Road were pointed to as evidence of some of the inherent risks of vehicles carrying heavy loads travelling at such high speeds.

Other ideas under consideration include dividing bidirectional lanes on Route 1. Such a partition may well have prevented a serious accident that occurred in South Iceland only recently when the driver of a car lost control on an icy patch of road and collided with one traveling in the opposite direction. The vehicles crashed at high speed, flipping one of them. Three of the four passengers in the accident then had to be airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries.

Following a traffic accident which ended in the deaths of two adults and one child ost their lives when their vehicle went through the railing on a single-lane bridge, the Road Administration elected to reduce the speed limit to 50 kph [31 mph] on all single-lane bridges throughout the country. The country’s 75 single-lane bridges are highly trafficked: it’s estimated that more than 300 cars cross single-lane bridges every day in Iceland.

At the same time that the speed limit was reduced, the Road Administration also planned to change signage to indicate which traffic direction had the right of way. These signs show a red arrow and a black arrow to represent the two different traffic directions. The black arrow is supposed to indicate the direction that has the right-of-way, however, when the arrows are the same size, it often confuses drivers. The Road Administration is then considering a change that New Zealand made to their own signage in which the red arrow is made significantly smaller in order to eliminate any doubt as to what direction has priority.

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