Warning Sign/Steep Hill
|The modern Steep Hill sign|
|TSRGD ref :||523.1 / 524.1 / 583|
|Changes :||1975, 1990s?|
|Variants :||Slow Lorries|
|Common Plates :||Low Gear Now • (for) x yds / miles|
The Pre-Worboys sign design for Steep Hills had the standard red triangle at the top of the post, with a plate below. Sometimes the plate appears to have simply stated 'Steep Hill', but more often than not it featured a 45 degree right angled triangle with text below. The text could again simply read 'Steep Hill', or 'Hill 1 in x'. It is not clear whether the symbol was reversed to indicate an ascent or descent, or indeed if signs were used at both ends of a hill.
Worboys Report sign
Following the Worboys report, all warning signs had a symbol inserted into the red triangle. In the case of the Steep Hill signs the triangle symbol was changed quite significantly, becoming much flatter, and cut off to the shape of the red triangle on the up-hill side. This was to provide room for the '1 in x' text to be inserted above the symbol, within the red triangle. More recently the '1 in x' text has been steadily replaced with percentages although it seems that the general public still have little idea of what is steeper!
Whilst the sign is now definitely reversed to presumably indicate whether the hill is up (slope up from left to right) or down (slope up from right to left), this detail often seems to be missed by the sign designers, which on occasion makes it difficult to anticipate what may be just around a corner. The signs are often set above plates bearing the text 'for x miles' or 'Low gear now'. Sometimes a combination is used in the format 'Low gear for x miles' as seen to the left.
Another variant, generally only found on hilly parts of Motorways and dual carriageways, is the 'Slow moving vehicles likely on incline ahead' sign, which features the slope of the uphill steep hill warning sign with the lorry silhouette used on a variety of regulatory signs, and indeed the black Goods Vehicle Direction Signs.
The intention of the sign is to forewarn other drivers that they may need to pull out into an outer lane in order to overtake vehicles that they may normally expect to travel with. Roads which feature this sign are increasingly gaining an a additional lane to allow for the slow moving lorries, such as the M5 between Gordano Interchange and Clevedon Interchange.
Irish warning signs W 105 Steep Descent and W 106 Steep Ascent, as prescribed in the Traffic Signs Manual 2010, are – apart from having the standard yellow diamond background shape and colour used on all warning signs in Ireland – virtually identical to their UK equivalents. Descents are indicated by a percentage figure surmounting a triangle the top edge of which descends from left to right, and vice versa for ascents. The signs are normally used in all cases where the gradient is greater than or equal to 10% for a distance of at least 30 metres.