A WOMAN whose daughter died in a car crash has launched a campaign to keep road signs clean.
Donna Guile has taken to washing dirty signs herself and has warned that unless Oxfordshire County Council does the job more regularly drivers’ lives could be put at risk.
Mrs Guile, who lives in Nettlebed and owns Fabric Fields in Lewknor, said: “It’s one of my beefs — there are so many dirty signs out there.
“They are everywhere and I wonder do motorists know what the speed limit is and when junctions are coming up?”
Her daughter Hayley died in 2005 after her car crashed into a tree in Fair Mile, Henley. She had swerved to avoid a car that had pulled out in front of her at a junction.
Mrs Guile said: “There weren’t a lot of signs on the stretch of road where Hayley had her accident and the man who pulled out wasn’t familiar with the road.
“The council is quite right to put signs in place but it has to do its bit in maintaining them.
“The speed limit there is 60mph but the signposting on the road is horrendous — there are just a few signs leading up to the junction and if they are dirty what’s the point?
“I want to make the council aware of how dangerous this can be. The signs are there for a reason. When I spoke to the council they said there was no money to do it but it’s annoying that they don’t think it’s important.”
Mrs Guile says she often sees dirty signs on her way to and from work, many of them on the B481 near Nettlebed.
She cleans any dirty signs she comes across with washing soda and a sponge and says she has received support from passing drivers and people she talks to.
She said: “It doesn’t take long to clean them. The biggest I have done was a ‘Kill Your Speed’ sign and even that took just seconds.
“When I speak to people they often say they’ve noticed it but not until after I’ve brought it to their attention. We need to realise that these signs need maintaining. I can’t be the only person who notices these things and we need to show the council that they should be spending the money.
“If people have dirty signs outside their houses they should make sure they report them. If they aren’t brought to the council’s attention they won’t be dealt with.
“It will save lives. The signs are there to warn people and stop them speeding but if you can’t read them what’s the point?”
Mrs Guile was backed by Henley town councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin.
She said: “It’s the county council’s responsibility but I’m all for self-help and there’s no point in having the signs if you can’t see them. It also makes the place look nice, so I think it’s a brilliant campaign. For the last two years I’ve been asking county councillors to sort the signs out.
“They have taken it forward and some have been cleaned but only last week I noticed one in Greys Road that needs cleaning. You could hardly read it, it was so dirty.
“If anybody sees any dirty signs let the county council know and they can be put on a list. Councillors don’t go round looking for these things so it’s important to report them.
“The county council does try to maintain them when it can but the more we do the better the place will look.”
Councillor David Nimmo Smith, a member of the town and county council, said: “The signs are there for a reason and they should be kept legible.
“The way I got round it was to spend the locality fund in July to get the majority of main road signs in Henley cleaned. That may be something other county councillors want to look at.
“I know the roads around here quite well so I don’t really look at the signs but when I’m elsewhere I need them as do people not familiar with this area.
“If they are not reported they won’t be done. Inspectors don’t come out and check every sign. There are thousands of kilometres of roads in the county and with the best will in the world we can’t keep on top of everything.
“Hopefully, now that the council has been alerted to this we can do something about it.”