Any - Smart Motorways - A Driver since 1988, HGV 2006

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/cars/news/smart-motorways-blamed-as-drivers-pay-25m-to-recover-broken-down-cars/ar-BB19MoUr?ocid=msedgntp

The link above shows rear end shunts on broken down cars on the motorway, yet I fail to see why it is the fault of the road and not the drivers of the respective cars/truck.

1

The 2 cars have slowed down to go around the stricken vehicle, with the first one changing lanes safely and the other waiting for a safe gap. A lorry/truck has used the empty lane to undertake the other vehicles and hit not the stricken vehicle but the one waiting to change lanes safely.

2

The 2nd part the vehicle in front has passed onto lane 2 to go around a stricken vehicle, and done so safely, the car behind him has tried the same thing but failed to check mirrors and look across and driven into the said/path of the vehicle in lane 2.

So my question is how is this the fault of the road itself and not the drivers ??? it shows that the bad publicity over smart motorways is very often biased, and unfair on the workings of such roads.

Any - Smart Motorways - _ORB_

IF The Hard shoulder was a Hard shoulder and not a running live lane, a lot of this would not happen.

It is a bit Like BOEING calculating how many crashes are acceptable per paasenger mile over the life time of the aircraft. The 737 Max did 2 in six months instead of 1 in 15 years....

The partial causes are the "unexpected" happening without knowing what it is, and also lack of perception and concentration.

Any - Smart Motorways - Bromptonaut

I've stood out in the past on here for defending Smart Motorways.

That item from MSN is odd. It talks about UK Smart motorways, possibly with some content lifted from the Daily Wail and some stills. It illustrates further with a video of a pile up.

The video however is not Smart Motorway or even in the UK. It's a nation that drives on the right. The captions suggest Taiwan.

Edited by Bromptonaut on 07/10/2020 at 14:45

Any - Smart Motorways - Engineer Andy

I've stood out in the past on here for defending Smart Motorways.

That item from MSN is odd. It talks about UK Smart motorways, possibly with some content lifted from the Daily Wail and some stills. It illustrates further with a video of a pile up.

The video however is not Smart Motorway or even in the UK. It's a nation that drives on the right. The captions suggest Taiwan.

MSN is always taking content from mainstream media news outlets that is a day or two old - from a range of them, the Mail included, but also the Grauniad and others. It normally says somewhere on the webpage where they sourced it.

Trying to find a decent, informed news source these days is bad enough, but trusting ones like MSN who recycle others' reports is worse. Quite often they truncate reports. From experience, many Daily Mail reports are very lengthy, though being so doesn't seem to add much to the quality.

The quality of journalism these days is literally in the gutter. Basic research (even a Google search or on Wikipedia) and proof-reading are barely carried out, meaning most reports are half made-up guesses or downright lies, often to suit the agenda of the writer or outlet.

Any - Smart Motorways - Avant

"So my question is how is this the fault of the road itself and not the drivers?"

I agree with ORB. Clearly there is driver error, but roads need to be as safe as possible so that the effect of driver error is less catastrophic. It's important not to see things too much in black and white.

Bromptonaut always makes a good case for an increase in the number of lanes leading to fewer accidents: but it's the severity of the ones that do happen that worries me. If the refuges were a sensible distance apart, say 500-800 yards rather than over a mile, I would be more convinced that the balance was in favour of smart motorways.

As it is, 'smart' has become the new negative, alongside smart meters and the Smart car which has 2 seats, costs more and performs worse than just about any other city car.

Any - Smart Motorways - John F

There is nothing smart about a busy motorway with nowhere to pull over in the event of a breakdown. If it happened to me I would be very frightened, especially on a dark rainy winter morning with lanes full of juggernauts, some drivers of which might be affected by a combination of sleeplessness and possibly residual blood alcohol from the previous evening. I think the design is criminally negligent.

Any - Smart Motorways - Andrew-T

There is nothing smart about a busy motorway with nowhere to pull over in the event of a breakdown.

Quite a lot of A-roads have nowhere to pull over, so by reducing motorways to the same condition drivers have to be prepared for the possibility of meeting a stranded vehicle. That is not how M-ways were intended, and it is not a feasible way to use them.

Any - Smart Motorways - Andrew-T

So my question is how is this the fault of the road itself and not the drivers ??? it shows that the bad publicity over smart motorways is very often biased, and unfair on the workings of such roads.

Using the same logic as in any rear-end collision the fault has to be with the driver. But M-ways differ from other roads in that drivers on them expect to be in laminar flow free of stationary objects. As a consequence I suspect some drivers are lulled into losing concentration; some are known to use their smartphones or other toys which they would probably not do on other roads. So to that extent the M-way is to blame.

Partly for that reason I avoid motorways if a reasonably clear A-road alternative exists. I am grateful for motorways making those roads less busy.

Any - Smart Motorways - barney100

Smart motorways won't stop accidents but they are a danger to someone who has to stop for whatever reason. It is blatantly obvious that if there is nowhere to pull over drivers and passengers are in danger. For that reason I think the hard shoulder was a life saver.

Any - Smart Motorways - Smileyman

Smart motorways are not smart they are death traps. This is because any vehicle stationary in lane 1 is in grave danger of being hit by a vehicle, be it HGV at 60 or car at 70, this not a lack of attention danger but sudden stop danger. No amount of reading the road can help if the vehicle in front stops for no apparent reason. No amount of (reasonable) leaving space helps if being overtaken at that time. Sudden mechanical failure, immediate need to stop is the most likely result. Perhaps 5 seconds to evacuate? A situation even more perilous in darkness / wet / foggy conditions.

It all very good Highways saying they are watching, ready to pounce and close the lane, but even if they do so immediately the vehicle stops in that time another vehicle may hit the stationary vehicle. All very well telling passengers to get out and cross the safety barrier, so how will disabled, elderly or mothers and several young children cope. Whom does she save first? Nightmare situation.

I've lost a relative in a car crash, it lives with the family for the rest of our lives. The only way I see this message getting through to those who need to listen and act is for one of their children drivers to break down on a busy smart motorway and see how they fare. Hopefully without the vehicle being hit by another.

Any - Smart Motorways - Terry W

Drive in town and you are very aware of other idiots doing the unpredictable. Stopping distance at 30mph is 75ft. Deaths from a collision with another car at that speed are rare, cyclists and pedestrians aside.

On non-urban and country roads most drivers will be aware of the risk of stationary, farm or other vehicles. Many fewer pedestrians. Average speeds are 40-60mph. Usually enough stimulus to keep most drivers awake and alert.

Motorways often have 3 or 4 lanes of traffic moving at 60-70mph (or more). Stopping distance is over 300ft in good conditions. Very easy to get on automatic pilot and assume the road ahead is clear. Vehicle separation often much less than desirable.

We have average speed cameras normally limiting speeds to 50mph. Roadworks are well signposted, cones in place and, as often as not, no one is working anyway.

But those managing motorways seem to think that creating an environment where a rogue stationary vehicle is sensible. Smart motorways are not smart but utter stupidity!

Any - Smart Motorways - Andrew-T

Drive in town and you are very aware of other idiots doing the unpredictable.

Smart motorways are not smart but utter stupidity!

I like the suggestion in the opening sentence ... :-)

The idea behind 'smart' motorways was not stupid, in that the existing roads had been built with a lane which was hardly ever used, and traffic density in some places was excessive. What might be called stupid is 1) hoping to switch back from that well-established system to what amounts to a 4-lane A-road, and 2) failing to grasp and allow for the possible consequence of vehicle failure. On an A-road the driver of a failed vehicle is expected to 'protect his rear' with a warning triangle or other indication. Clearly not possible on a busy motorway.

Any - Smart Motorways - Terry W

On an A-road the driver of a failed vehicle is expected to 'protect his rear' with a warning triangle or other indication. Clearly not possible on a busy motorway.

In case of emergency:

  • carefully steer the car to the left most lane
  • stop the car
  • get out, noting the adjacent lane has HGVs and cars doing 70mph
  • open boot get out triangle

Assuming that it is not possible to get to, and walk on, the safe side of the barrier:

  • walk 150 yards up the inside lane watching carefully for oncoming 70mph traffic
  • place plastic trangle in road. Hope it stays there despite passing traffic
  • walk back to car hoping that traffic sees triangle before colliding with your rear end
  • wait for emergency services to spot you

Any - Smart Motorways - Gibbo_Wirral

One thing I've noticed about the recent deaths on Smart motorways - why were the drivers involved in the crash not over the barrier to safety? Why were they exchanging details and looking at their cars on a live lane? Why was one woman who was killed sat in her car for 45 minutes?

I travelled nearly 280 miles on motorways at the weekend two weeks ago. I saw four breakdowns. And in every single case the occupants of the car were either stood beside it or sat in it.

From a recent independent report on Smart Motorways:

Smart motorways are designed with safety in mind, to be at least as safe as the conventional motorways they replace. Our evidence shows that they are reducing casualty rates:

a risk assessment of the design for the latest generation of smart motorways estimated an overall 18 per cent reduction in risk compared to a conventional motorway the evidence indicates that, since opening, across nine ‘all lane running’ schemes the casualty rate has reduced by 28 per cent.

The hard shoulder is not a safe place - more than a hundred people are killed or injured on the hard shoulder every year, and people stopping on them unnecessarily is an issue. Smart motorways effectively eliminate this risk

Edited by Gibbo_Wirral on 08/10/2020 at 12:51

Any - Smart Motorways - alan1302

One thing I've noticed about the recent deaths on Smart motorways - why were the drivers involved in the crash not over the barrier to safety? Why were they exchanging details and looking at their cars on a live lane? Why was one woman who was killed sat in her car for 45 minutes?

I travelled nearly 280 miles on motorways at the weekend two weeks ago. I saw four breakdowns. And in every single case the occupants of the car were either stood beside it or sat in it.

From a recent independent report on Smart Motorways:

Smart motorways are designed with safety in mind, to be at least as safe as the conventional motorways they replace. Our evidence shows that they are reducing casualty rates:

a risk assessment of the design for the latest generation of smart motorways estimated an overall 18 per cent reduction in risk compared to a conventional motorway the evidence indicates that, since opening, across nine ‘all lane running’ schemes the casualty rate has reduced by 28 per cent.

The hard shoulder is not a safe place - more than a hundred people are killed or injured on the hard shoulder every year, and people stopping on them unnecessarily is an issue. Smart motorways effectively eliminate this risk

Everyone seems to say they are more dangerous than a standard motorway but all the fcats/stats show the Smart Motorways have less perople being killed. People do though need to be educated on how to use them properly and to ensure they get out of their cars and across the barriers ASAP

Any - Smart Motorways - Engineer Andy

One thing I've noticed about the recent deaths on Smart motorways - why were the drivers involved in the crash not over the barrier to safety? Why were they exchanging details and looking at their cars on a live lane? Why was one woman who was killed sat in her car for 45 minutes?

I travelled nearly 280 miles on motorways at the weekend two weeks ago. I saw four breakdowns. And in every single case the occupants of the car were either stood beside it or sat in it.

From a recent independent report on Smart Motorways:

Smart motorways are designed with safety in mind, to be at least as safe as the conventional motorways they replace. Our evidence shows that they are reducing casualty rates:

a risk assessment of the design for the latest generation of smart motorways estimated an overall 18 per cent reduction in risk compared to a conventional motorway the evidence indicates that, since opening, across nine ‘all lane running’ schemes the casualty rate has reduced by 28 per cent.

The hard shoulder is not a safe place - more than a hundred people are killed or injured on the hard shoulder every year, and people stopping on them unnecessarily is an issue. Smart motorways effectively eliminate this risk

Everyone seems to say they are more dangerous than a standard motorway but all the fcats/stats show the Smart Motorways have less perople being killed. People do though need to be educated on how to use them properly and to ensure they get out of their cars and across the barriers ASAP

We've been through this all before on another thread a year or so ago, and I saw the 'evidence' given at the HoC Select Committee (I watched the entire video) by the civil service team and was less than impressed by the quality of their information, as I explained at the time. The evidence just wasn't there.

Any - Smart Motorways - Bromptonaut

One thing I've noticed about the recent deaths on Smart motorways - why were the drivers involved in the crash not over the barrier to safety? Why were they exchanging details and looking at their cars on a live lane? Why was one woman who was killed sat in her car for 45 minutes?

The well publicised cases that featured in the papers or on TV were, except for one who stopped inexplicably on the elevated section of the M6, in avoidable situations. One pair exchanging details in the live lane after a minor accident. Another mending a puncture. Playing fuel light bingo and lost....

I'm not saying they're perfect or that misjudgements have not been made over spacing refuges and, above all, driver education. But I don't think real evidence about accidents to stationary vehicles on lane one/former hard shoulder bear out the doom monger's predictions.

Any - Smart Motorways - Andrew-T

<< I'm not saying they're perfect or that misjudgements have not been made over spacing refuges and, above all, driver education. But I don't think real evidence about accidents to stationary vehicles on lane one/former hard shoulder bear out the doom monger's predictions. >>

I'm happy to accept the (provisional) stats which claim that there are fewer accidents/deaths on smart motorways, but it cannot be denied that their arrival has introduced a new variety of hazard. I believe most hard-shoulder crashes were caused by vehicles straying into them. On a smart M-way they must be due to vehicles failing to move to an outer lane.

If a vehicle fails, for whatever reason - perhaps running out of fuel - I wonder how it is expected to get to the next refuge if that is a mile further on ? Maybe refuges should always be at the foot of a slope?

Any - Smart Motorways - catsdad

I came through a busy section of M42 Smart motorway yesterday. Speeds were about 60-70 and reasonable spacing but not a lot to spare. I became aware of HGVs ahead moving unnaturally quickly out, including into lane 3. I moved across to a good gap in lane 4 and in a flash we were all safely past a breakdown in lane 1, still doing about 60. Too quick to be concerned and nothing too dramatic but it made me think afterwards what could have been.

I doubt it would have been so uneventful in the dark or in poor visibility. The main thing I drew from it was the height of the HGVs making them very visible and their movement showing something was up. Good cool driving by a community who are often maligned by car drivers.

Any - Smart Motorways - Bromptonaut

@catsdad:

Good that the LGV's did that but your account also shows your own observation being used. Far too many people focus on what's immediately ahead instead of keeping up a scan of the bigger picture.

Any - Smart Motorways - daveyK_UK
I heard a radio phone in about this topic mention a section of motorway near Manchester (M62?) that recently had years of 50mph average speed cameras while they installed a smart motorway, it was recently completed but due to the highways England’s nervousness about the system the 50mph average speed cameras will stay in place!

The productivity in this country needs help not hinderance!

Any - Smart Motorways - Gibbo_Wirral
I heard a radio phone in about this topic mention a section of motorway near Manchester (M62?) that recently had years of 50mph average speed cameras while they installed a smart motorway, it was recently completed but due to the highways England’s nervousness about the system the 50mph average speed cameras will stay in place!

I don't think this is true.

The only permanent 50mph average camera section is on the clockwise M60 near Stockport, which suffered from a lot of people racing into a congested section and crashing.

The introduction of the cameras years ago (its not a smart motorway BTW) reduced this congestion and stop-start effect.

Any - Smart Motorways - Bilboman

Quick straw poll: what would you do as a sole driver/passenger if your vehicle broke down in a live lane of a "smart" motorway, having phoned for help from the safety of your car?
1. Get out of the car and over the nearside barrier and wait for help to arrive.
2. Stay inside the car, on the left hand side, with seat belt fastened and doors locked and hope for the best.
(Needless to say, neither option is possible for many disabled drivers...)

Any - Smart Motorways - gordonbennet

Quick straw poll: what would you do as a sole driver/passenger if your vehicle broke down in a live lane of a "smart" motorway, having phoned for help from the safety of your car?

1.

Wouldn't be phoning from inside the car, as it rolled a to a stop i'd be out and over.

Nightmare for the less agile and those with chidren, especially in the dark and/or heavy rain, especially frightening on elevated sections.

Even at 50odd mph its surprising just how rapidly you approach an unexpected stationary vehicle in a live lane.

Any - Smart Motorways - Bromptonaut

Quick straw poll: what would you do as a sole driver/passenger if your vehicle broke down in a live lane of a "smart" motorway, having phoned for help from the safety of your car?
1. Get out of the car and over the nearside barrier and wait for help to arrive.
2. Stay inside the car, on the left hand side, with seat belt fastened and doors locked and hope for the best.
(Needless to say, neither option is possible for many disabled drivers...)

Assuming you've broken down in lane 1, ie the one built over the hard shoulder, then option 1. Out of the car, over the barrier and onto the banking. Then phone for help.

Caveat to that. If it's at all possible, even if there's a warning light on or you're going to wreck a tyre, keep rolling until you're in a refuge.

If another live lane then there's no choice but 2.

On the caveat point I was on a 'Smart' section of the M1 yesterday, pretty much where the current section ends at J16. Sometime after Watford Gap the signs were on for 50mph, accident and closure of lane 1. Could see Traffic Officers' vehicles ahead forming a rolling roadblock.

Turned out the be a car that had tail ended an LGV - tanker. Car had crumples at the front but looked as though it could have moved to the refuge visible down the road. LGV was undamaged.

Possible I suppose that the car's airbags had gone off - does that immobilise? I guess it might as an impact sensor can cut the fuel off.

Any - Smart Motorways - MikeM100

In this earlier post I posed a question about the purpose of the 12 foot high fences being erected on Smart Motorways

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/133985/-smart-moto...2

All well and good leaping out of your car but there is nowhere to go where fenced ??

Any - Smart Motorways - Bromptonaut

In this earlier post I posed a question about the purpose of the 12 foot high fences being erected on Smart Motorways

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/133985/-smart-moto...2

All well and good leaping out of your car but there is nowhere to go where fenced ??

There are a few such places where fencing has been placed to reduce noise AND it's right on the highway boundary. I clipped the boundary fence between Toddington and Luton Airport last year while driving such a section.

Only damage was to my car and I chose not to stop for obvious reasons. As it was clear damage, albeit potentially extensive, was to panels only I didn't stop until my destination (the airport).

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car