French Emergency Run Off Lanes - pmh
The ones that you find on down hill gradients, full of gravel like material, and terminating in an unprotected sheer drop!

I have often pondered on whether these work for private cars or are designed for heavy lorries. The length seems very short to effectively stop a 130k (or faster) vehicle with small wheels tthat may 'not dig in deep'. My interest was retriggered today on seeing a F1 car skipping across the gravel like a coin on a pond.

Anyone with personal experience?


pmh (was peter)

French Emergency Run Off Lanes - PhilW
Not many of these in Leics! - but is one on Telegraph Hill in Devon I think. Not personal experience but many years ago a mate told me he had "tested one for a laugh" (somewhere in North Yorks - Sutton Bank maybe or Rosedale??) and said it was like hitting a brick wall he stopped so suddenly. Not only that but he had to be winched out 'cos he couldn't dig himself out!!
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - cheddar
There is one on Porlock Hill, also near Broadway in the Cotswolds, I have seen a few others around though cant think where now.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - Cymrogwyllt
Fish hill iirc, much of it now bypassed but the traffic in Broadway is still a pain.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - mare
There is one on the A39 coming down off the Mendips into Wells, and another on the A46 Swainswick bypass.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - jonno
Lots of these in Cornwall, usually on approaches to junctions and roundabouts:

French Emergency Run Off Lanes - Lud
There's a frightening looking one on the very steep last bit of the A20 (or do I mean A2) going down into Dover.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - jon_s
Now I come to think of it, there are quite a few of these around. There's one in Hemel Hempstead IIRC, as you descend from the A41 junction towards the town centre. There are also a few on the A35 between Honiton and Dorchester. I assume there must be criteria for their use, in terms of gradient, traffic patterns, accident history etc. Mercifully, I've never had to use one, although I pass the Telegraph Hill one regularly, and there are often fresh tyre marks in it...
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - BillB
If you're ever driving from Coin to Marbella in Spain, you will see several runoff lanes. One of them has a raised manhole cover, about nine inches high, a third of the way along it's length. When I lived there I used to take this road regularly and made damn sure I kept my speed down on that stretch. It would certainly stop you dead if you needed the lane.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - midlifecrisis
The ones at Broadway work. I've attended a fair few RTCs there in the past.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - martint123
Staxton Hill, Garrowby Hill. Both local to me, give the impression that you would stop within 5 to 20 yards judging by the tracks of people who have "tried it".
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - PhilW
"Staxton Hill"
That's the one my mate tried - knew it had to be near Scarborough. Did a google on it and found this thread on escape lanes . Not sure what the rest of the website is like though.

French Emergency Run Off Lanes - JamesH
> Anyone with personal experience?

Yes, but not in France or this country.

In Tenerife, I was driving at night in the lane for turning off the motorway, but it didn't. It turned into a hard shoulder, with the lane for other motorway just peeling off without marking or signs. Taking the next junction, it took a while to work out where we were and eventually rejoin the motorway.

At the next motorway junction, I was determined not to make the same mistake and duly pulled off in what appeared the same, only to realise it was a gravelled escape lane with concrete barrier on either side.

Without being able to stop in time, I quickly decided to power my way through, thinking the last thing I wanted to do was get stuck.

In a dead straight line, the Peugeot 206 hire car coped quite well, bouncing over the ridges put in, but not scrubbing off speed all that quickly. Without needing to spin the wheels, I eventually got towards the end at a reasonably slow pace and crawled out the other end. I was mildly worried, my friend in the passenger seat almost out for the count with shock.

I carried on, coming off at the junction shortly ahead as I should have done and didn't have any problems after that. Only the noise of trapped stones coming out of crevices for the next 20 miles.

My lesson was learned. Ensure you can stop in the distance you can see at night. Even on a motoway, where you expect to do high speeds before pulling onto slip lanes, as there can be hidden debris.

These lanes will work well at racetracks to stop cars that are out of control and skidding, with the gravel building up beside the wheels or the wheels digging in, stopping the car quickly. If the car can stay in a straight line, there should be minimal digging in on the flat gravel at a track, with the car able to drive over the gravel as I found. But an HGV should have enough weight to dig into the ridges of these straight escape lanes.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - Smileyman
There are a couple on the A2 coming into Dover western docks , one on the left half way down the hill, and a second after the U bend that juts out over the ferry terminal as the road returns to land .

Never seen them used (thankfully) so unsure if they'd stop a fully laden lorry or not. There are warning signs in English, French, German and I think perhaps one more language.

PS great view of the docks, ferries coming in and out of port etc.
French Emergency Run Off Lanes - pmh
This is interesting that you could 'drive thro,' as the ones that really frighten me are the ones where the end is just a shear drop into the valley below! if I ever need to use one this will certainly make me think twice!

pmh (was peter)


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