Road Safety Charity Laments Lack Of SMART Motorway Publicity
News flash: the Institute of Advanced Motorists has claimed the public need more information about SMART Motorways. Why? Because its survey of more than fifteen hundred people has revealed that sixty-seven percent have not seen any related “publicity”. This might suggest that thousands of people do not understand how to use this type of road. SMART Motorways are managed by control centres and ensure that traffic flows as efficiently as possible. Techniques include varying the speed limit to create buffers to congestion and – either permanently or as required - opening the hard shoulder to non-emergency traffic. Motorists that break-down must therefore find a refuge bay as positioned periodically to the left of the inner lane. Interestingly, seventy-one percent of the survey respondents claimed they “would feel less safe on a motorway with no hard shoulder”. Furthermore, forty percent are sceptical that warning systems such as overhead signs can “protect them” if their vehicle stops in a running lane.
Institute Chief Executive Discusses SMART Motorways
The Institute of Advanced Motorists Chief Executive, Simon Best, said: “SMART motorways are being rolled out across England but our survey shows that drivers want more reassurance and information on how safe they will be and how to use them. The IAM has been supportive of hard shoulder running but we have always said that the Highways Agency must be quick to learn and implement any real world lessons as more schemes come into use.”
How To Use SMART Motorways
The Institute of Advanced Motorists has published guidance on using SMART motorways:
- Pay attention to the overhead gantries as they provide information on traffic conditions and lane access for the road ahead. The six signals are:
- A red cross without flashing beacons. The hard shoulder is only for use in an emergency or breakdown.
- A speed limit inside a red circle. It is absolutely mandatory and may have cameras enforcing it.
- A blank signal. Usual motorway rules apply.
- A white arrow with flashing beacons. This applies to all lanes and means you should move into the lane which the arrow points to.
- A red cross with flashing beacons. You should not continue to use the lane.
- A national speed limit sign is shown. The national speed limit, seventy miles per-hour maximum, applies to all lanes apart from the hard shoulder.