Safety call on A39 and A358 after four crashes in a week

THE scene of the three-vehicle collision near Williton on Tuesday (May 13). PHOTO: Clayton Jane.

THE scene of the three-vehicle collision near Williton on Tuesday (May 13). PHOTO: Clayton Jane.

First published in News
Last updated

PEOPLE in West Somerset are calling for the district’s roads to be improved and speed limits lowered after a spate of accidents in the past week.

Three people were taken to hospital on Tuesday evening after a three-vehicle collision near Williton.

The accident at Washford Cross was one of four on the A39 and A358 since Friday.

A man was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton with neck and lower back pain and two women including a 67-year-old woman suffering leg, chest and back pain.

All three were rescued after fire crews removed the roof of a Honda which had been involved in the accident with a VW Golf and a Fiat.

On Friday, Washford Hill was closed both ways for almost three hours after a vehicle knocked down a telegraph pole.

On Sunday, a driver was taken to hospital after a VW was involved in a collision at Bilbrook, closing the road for two hours.

Motorists suffered delays again on Monday when a Landover and a Honda were involved in an accident next to Nethercott Lane on the A358.

It is not clear whether speed was a factor in any of the accidents, but they have caused long-standing concerns about the number of crashes on West Somerset’s roads to resurface.

Williton parish councillor Rebecca James said: “As a parish council this is something we’ve been campaigning about for years, and as a resident, too, this does concern me.

“We want to see the speed limit lowered, especially coming into Williton.

“There’s a limit of 30mph in place, but people don’t take any notice.

“This is the problem – the A39 and A358 are too bendy, and there’s nowhere for drivers to overtake, so people overtake on dangerous bits of the road and accidents happen.

“Something needs to be done, but who knows how or what because we have the National Park on one side and the sea on the other.”

The parish council has been successful in asking EDF Energy for a roundabout at Washford Cross if Hinkley Point C nuclear power station goes ahead.

Cllr James said: “I really think it will make a difference because people will have to slow down and give way.

“At the moment there’s so much confusion as to who has the right of way at the junctions.”

Minehead resident Jim Butterworth told the County Gazette: “The A39 is inconvenient, dangerous and quite inadequate, failing to serve the traffic of the 21st Century.”

Comments (17)

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5:33pm Thu 15 May 14

speedy1003 says...

Most would probably be avoided if they looked further ahead than the nose on their face and left a reasonable gap to the car in front. Also i travel the A358 and A39 quite regularly and some people drive along at 30mph when the limit is 60mph and this does not help.Slow and fast in my book are as bad as each other.
Most would probably be avoided if they looked further ahead than the nose on their face and left a reasonable gap to the car in front. Also i travel the A358 and A39 quite regularly and some people drive along at 30mph when the limit is 60mph and this does not help.Slow and fast in my book are as bad as each other. speedy1003
  • Score: 38

6:10pm Thu 15 May 14

oldwoman234 says...

The speed limit can be lowered as much as you like but the idiots that drive along these roads will still drive at excessive speeds with no concern for others or the speed limit! I am constantly hassled by drivers who are obviously annoyed that I am sticking to the speed limits. There are no dangerous roads only stupid dangerous drivers. The penalties need to be increased, cars are killing machines in the wrong hands.
The speed limit can be lowered as much as you like but the idiots that drive along these roads will still drive at excessive speeds with no concern for others or the speed limit! I am constantly hassled by drivers who are obviously annoyed that I am sticking to the speed limits. There are no dangerous roads only stupid dangerous drivers. The penalties need to be increased, cars are killing machines in the wrong hands. oldwoman234
  • Score: 21

6:15pm Thu 15 May 14

chachacha27 says...

I live along the A358, and travel it nearly every day. The problem is not the speed limit, it is the drivers who cannot drive along it. Like speedy1003 says, the limit is 60mph, and yet on every journey I am always behind someone who cannot go over 30mph and still breaks when there is writing on the road saying slow or a bend. This causes most of the drivers to get annoyed and tailgate or overtake, which results in the accidents. Apart from these slow drivers there is also the cyclists, tractors and mopeds to deal with. Slowing the speed limit will not help in my eyes, it will just make the slower people go even slower.

I would like to add I am not one of the tailgaters and I only overtake in the one suitable place there is if the road is clear, along my drive home, but it does annoy the hell out of me when I am stuck behind someone driving slower than slow when there isn't the need too.
I live along the A358, and travel it nearly every day. The problem is not the speed limit, it is the drivers who cannot drive along it. Like speedy1003 says, the limit is 60mph, and yet on every journey I am always behind someone who cannot go over 30mph and still breaks when there is writing on the road saying slow or a bend. This causes most of the drivers to get annoyed and tailgate or overtake, which results in the accidents. Apart from these slow drivers there is also the cyclists, tractors and mopeds to deal with. Slowing the speed limit will not help in my eyes, it will just make the slower people go even slower. I would like to add I am not one of the tailgaters and I only overtake in the one suitable place there is if the road is clear, along my drive home, but it does annoy the hell out of me when I am stuck behind someone driving slower than slow when there isn't the need too. chachacha27
  • Score: 20

6:16pm Thu 15 May 14

chachacha27 says...

Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason
Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason chachacha27
  • Score: 8

8:52pm Thu 15 May 14

azurepoppy says...

My daughter was killed 2 years ago on the A358, due to the driver driving to fast and lack of experience. After she was killed lots of people said 'Oh it's that stretch of road again'. The majority of crashes happen due to driver error, not the bends in the road, speed limit of the roads etc. Cars are safe until someone gets behind the wheel of them. Please can people stop blaming the road. Changing speed limits would not make any difference to some drivers who will continue to drive faster than the limit as they do now. More should be put into educating drivers of the dangers of speed.
My daughter was killed 2 years ago on the A358, due to the driver driving to fast and lack of experience. After she was killed lots of people said 'Oh it's that stretch of road again'. The majority of crashes happen due to driver error, not the bends in the road, speed limit of the roads etc. Cars are safe until someone gets behind the wheel of them. Please can people stop blaming the road. Changing speed limits would not make any difference to some drivers who will continue to drive faster than the limit as they do now. More should be put into educating drivers of the dangers of speed. azurepoppy
  • Score: 27

8:47am Fri 16 May 14

Mi_Coc says...

chachacha27 wrote:
Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason
The reasoning comes from 1964 is it not time it was reassessed

People need retesting as doing 30mph is without good reason ie poor weather you would fail your driving test.
[quote][p][bold]chachacha27[/bold] wrote: Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason[/p][/quote]The reasoning comes from 1964 is it not time it was reassessed People need retesting as doing 30mph is without good reason ie poor weather you would fail your driving test. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Fri 16 May 14

Tinhharris says...

Mi_Coc wrote:
chachacha27 wrote:
Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason
The reasoning comes from 1964 is it not time it was reassessed

People need retesting as doing 30mph is without good reason ie poor weather you would fail your driving test.
So he should speed because the law is outdated? People seem to excuse themselves with regards speeding.
[quote][p][bold]Mi_Coc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chachacha27[/bold] wrote: Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason[/p][/quote]The reasoning comes from 1964 is it not time it was reassessed People need retesting as doing 30mph is without good reason ie poor weather you would fail your driving test.[/p][/quote]So he should speed because the law is outdated? People seem to excuse themselves with regards speeding. Tinhharris
  • Score: 10

3:31pm Fri 16 May 14

jamking says...

Reducing average speeds by 10mph reduces collision risk by 40%, so speed makes a huge difference both to risk of collision but also in reducing the consequences of any collision.. It's also worth bearing in mind that a 10 mile journey at 50mph is only two minutes longer than at 60mph, assuming the unlikely event that you can do 60 all the way!
Reducing average speeds by 10mph reduces collision risk by 40%, so speed makes a huge difference both to risk of collision but also in reducing the consequences of any collision.. It's also worth bearing in mind that a 10 mile journey at 50mph is only two minutes longer than at 60mph, assuming the unlikely event that you can do 60 all the way! jamking
  • Score: 6

5:41pm Fri 16 May 14

blackmasquerade says...

jamking wrote:
Reducing average speeds by 10mph reduces collision risk by 40%, so speed makes a huge difference both to risk of collision but also in reducing the consequences of any collision.. It's also worth bearing in mind that a 10 mile journey at 50mph is only two minutes longer than at 60mph, assuming the unlikely event that you can do 60 all the way!
The point is that there are some roads where limits should be lowered in the same way some should be raised (there is no way the Toneway in Taunton should be 40 mph along its entire length for example). That aside, those who make the point about it being driver error are quite right as there's no such thing as a dangerous road it's how you drive it that makes the difference.

The number of times I've been following cars keeping within the limit, only for them (&I) to be overtaken by idiots often crossing double lines because they couldn't wait. Totally reckless & irresponsible but though I care not what happens to them frankly, it's the innocent parties they hit or otherwise involve that sadly tend to come off worse.
[quote][p][bold]jamking[/bold] wrote: Reducing average speeds by 10mph reduces collision risk by 40%, so speed makes a huge difference both to risk of collision but also in reducing the consequences of any collision.. It's also worth bearing in mind that a 10 mile journey at 50mph is only two minutes longer than at 60mph, assuming the unlikely event that you can do 60 all the way![/p][/quote]The point is that there are some roads where limits should be lowered in the same way some should be raised (there is no way the Toneway in Taunton should be 40 mph along its entire length for example). That aside, those who make the point about it being driver error are quite right as there's no such thing as a dangerous road it's how you drive it that makes the difference. The number of times I've been following cars keeping within the limit, only for them (&I) to be overtaken by idiots often crossing double lines because they couldn't wait. Totally reckless & irresponsible but though I care not what happens to them frankly, it's the innocent parties they hit or otherwise involve that sadly tend to come off worse. blackmasquerade
  • Score: 15

7:07pm Fri 16 May 14

boliston says...

If someone is doing only 30 in a 60 limit then they are normally a piece of cake to overtake so can't see the problem, it's someone who dawdles at 45mph that is usually tricier to get past.

Having said that, most of the taunton to minehead road it narrow and twisting, even though it is a "A" road, so it's not like you can really do 60 very often, unless you want a "white knuckle" ride!
If someone is doing only 30 in a 60 limit then they are normally a piece of cake to overtake so can't see the problem, it's someone who dawdles at 45mph that is usually tricier to get past. Having said that, most of the taunton to minehead road it narrow and twisting, even though it is a "A" road, so it's not like you can really do 60 very often, unless you want a "white knuckle" ride! boliston
  • Score: 3

10:12pm Fri 16 May 14

Mi_Coc says...

Tinhharris wrote:
Mi_Coc wrote:
chachacha27 wrote:
Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason
The reasoning comes from 1964 is it not time it was reassessed

People need retesting as doing 30mph is without good reason ie poor weather you would fail your driving test.
So he should speed because the law is outdated? People seem to excuse themselves with regards speeding.
Sorry I was not clear 30 in a 60 limit
[quote][p][bold]Tinhharris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mi_Coc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chachacha27[/bold] wrote: Oh, and I always stick to the speed limits too, as they are there for a reason[/p][/quote]The reasoning comes from 1964 is it not time it was reassessed People need retesting as doing 30mph is without good reason ie poor weather you would fail your driving test.[/p][/quote]So he should speed because the law is outdated? People seem to excuse themselves with regards speeding.[/p][/quote]Sorry I was not clear 30 in a 60 limit Mi_Coc
  • Score: -5

8:11am Sat 17 May 14

Thurza says...

Whatever the speed limit you will always get idiots that think it does not apply to them, we live in a village and it is surprising that someone has not been killed the way cars speed through.
Whatever the speed limit you will always get idiots that think it does not apply to them, we live in a village and it is surprising that someone has not been killed the way cars speed through. Thurza
  • Score: 11

11:59am Sat 17 May 14

duckface08 says...

Whenever I read about a road accident there is always a report of how long the road remained closed---many hours or even a day if motorway involved.
This I don't understand in todays age of technology??? Why can't the scene be filmed from different angles, the debris cleared and the road re-opened as soon as possible?
Whenever I read about a road accident there is always a report of how long the road remained closed---many hours or even a day if motorway involved. This I don't understand in todays age of technology??? Why can't the scene be filmed from different angles, the debris cleared and the road re-opened as soon as possible? duckface08
  • Score: 8

2:08pm Sat 17 May 14

Eyelivehere2 says...

Speed is not necessarily the issue.

As already stated there are many who drive very slowly on these roads and so others take risks they probably wouldn't do if everyone was driving at a sensible speed (IE somewhere approaching the limit, not massively beyond it).

It must also be said that large lorries who simply cannot stay on their own half of the road, coaches, horse-boxes and caravans all make these roads worse by their size or slow progress. Oh yes, and lets not forget the tractors who are currently resurfacing the roads with mud and still rarely pull over when causing a long queue - when was the last time you saw a tractor pull over OR be repremanded by the Police?

These are old and windy roads for sure but excess speed is not the only issue which causes accidents.
Speed is not necessarily the issue. As already stated there are many who drive very slowly on these roads and so others take risks they probably wouldn't do if everyone was driving at a sensible speed (IE somewhere approaching the limit, not massively beyond it). It must also be said that large lorries who simply cannot stay on their own half of the road, coaches, horse-boxes and caravans all make these roads worse by their size or slow progress. Oh yes, and lets not forget the tractors who are currently resurfacing the roads with mud and still rarely pull over when causing a long queue - when was the last time you saw a tractor pull over OR be repremanded by the Police? These are old and windy roads for sure but excess speed is not the only issue which causes accidents. Eyelivehere2
  • Score: 8

4:41pm Sat 17 May 14

Little_Owly says...

If everyone drove as though they were doing their driving test, there would be no problems. The standard of driving I've witnessed recently is appalling and often the rules of the road do not seem to apply to some people. Common courtesy and common sense are often absent.
If everyone drove as though they were doing their driving test, there would be no problems. The standard of driving I've witnessed recently is appalling and often the rules of the road do not seem to apply to some people. Common courtesy and common sense are often absent. Little_Owly
  • Score: 11

5:50pm Sat 17 May 14

jellyonaplate says...

JUST SLOW DOWN !!!
JUST SLOW DOWN !!! jellyonaplate
  • Score: 5

9:46pm Sat 17 May 14

lector says...

I was one of the first on scene at the Washford Hill single vehicle incident and that was down to speed and not knowing the road . . The A358 and the tropiquaria incidents were someone going into the back of another vehicle(s) so not keeping a safe separation distance and/or not concentrating .
I was one of the first on scene at the Washford Hill single vehicle incident and that was down to speed and not knowing the road . . The A358 and the tropiquaria incidents were someone going into the back of another vehicle(s) so not keeping a safe separation distance and/or not concentrating . lector
  • Score: 5

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