Smart motorways always bring mixed reviews with drivers.
Some say that they are a great idea to assist with the flow of traffic if they are used correctly.
Others say that they are a terrible idea and dangerous because of the lack of a hard shoulder.
Is it not up to the drivers to use them correctly to keep them safe?
How do drivers learn about using them correctly, should it not be down to the public education through TV, social media and learning at driving lessons?
The ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) is used to monitor and manage the busy roads. The hard shoulder is then used as an additional lane to ease the flow of traffic.
Once the hard shoulder is open the speed limit is shown on the gantry above.
The speed limits are variable depending on traffic flows and if no speed limit is shown in a red circle then national speed limits apply.
If the hard shoulder is not open a red X is displayed on the gantry above and at this point the lane is for emergency use only.
There are bays along the side of the hard shoulder for emergencies and they do ask to try and get into one of the bays when possible. They provide better protection than the hard shoulder too.
Driving on the hard shoulder is not allowed unless the lane is open for use or in the event of an emergency and you can get fined and receive points if you do this.
In the Traffic Commissioner updates, a HGV driver was given five penalty points and a £655 fine when the car he was blocking in on the hard shoulder turned out to be a police car.
The last tip is to keep left.
When you’re driving along a motorway you should keep left unless you’re overtaking, no matter how many lanes a motorway has.
It’s a simple rule of the Highway Code, but one which some drivers don’t always follow. You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.
The other lanes should only be used for overtaking slower-moving vehicles. Once you’re safely past them, you should return to the left-hand lane.
If you are wanting more information on Smart Motorways we can offer a Driver CPC course that covers this. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.