UK Construction Media

Smart advice for driving on smart motorways

News   •   Jul 13, 2016 09:53 BST

Drivers urged to learn about the latest signs and signals they will see on England’s smart motorways.

England’s motorways are among the safest in the world, and following the addition of England’s smart motorway, Highways England is offering advice to summer drivers as a step towards improving safety on the roads.

As part of the advice, Highways England talks about driving on smart motorways where signs and signals are used to help ease the flow of traffic and improve journeys.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive said: “Safety is our top priority and we want people who are setting off on summer holidays to arrive at their destinations safely.

“With schools breaking up in July many people will set off on long journeys on unfamiliar roads. Many of those journeys will be on smart motorways.

“We want to be sure that drivers understand the signs and signals and know exactly what to do if their vehicle breaks down. We also urge drivers to ensure their vehicles are in good shape for the journeys before they set out – to help them get to their destinations safely.”

Smart motorways now operate on 236 miles of the M25, M1, M42/M40, M20, M6, M62 and M4/M5, reducing congestions and improving journey time reliability by making the hard shoulder available as a traffic lane and using variable speed limits to smooth traffic flow.

As part of the new signage, the red “X” sign is there to protect road construction workers in the lane ahead and therefore, drivers should not be using the lane. Speed limits are now displayed in red rings, and are legally enforceable as a method of keeping traffic moving.

Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman said: “In the event of breakdown on a smart motorway, the RAC’s advice is to try to reach an emergency refuge area. If you can’t do this, move as far over onto the verge if possible, leaving enough room to leave the vehicle by the left-hand doors. In all cases, red ‘X’ signs that indicate a lane is not in use should be obeyed to keep our motorways as safe as possible.”

Edmund King OBE, AA President said: “Motorways are dangerous places to break down so if you can get off the motorway, you should do so. If you cannot, you should try and make it to the hard shoulder. However, if there isn’t one, you should try and get to a refuge area. Drivers should do all they can prior to setting off to ensure the chances of breaking down on a motorway are as small as possible. This means you should check the vehicle over properly and make sure you have enough fuel. Planning your route properly will help you not to get caught out by avoidable problems.”

Drivers are encouraged to find out more about driving on a smart motorway, to ensure their journeys are safe.