Which products have made it into the Honest John Kit gift guides for Christmas 2019? You'll be surprised... | No thanks

Smart Motorway dangers to be reviewed by Transport Secretary

Published 24 October 2019

The Government has launched a review into the safety of Smart Motorways.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has pledged results within a "matter of weeks", amid concerns that Smart Motorways are putting drivers at risk. 

There are more than 400 miles of Smart Motorway in the UK and the majority are designed to relieve congestion by making the hard shoulder available for use of traffic. On some motorways the hard shoulder is opened at busy times while others use it permanently - known as all lane running (ALR).

Speaking to the Commons Transport Select Committee, Shapps admitted that "people are dying on Smart Motorways" but more research was needed to understand how safe they were in comparison to traditional motorways with a permanent hard shoulder. 

The announcement comes after the chief executive of Highways England, Jim O' Sullivan, told the Committee he will not expand the network any further because drivers found them too complicated to understand. He also admitted that some drivers were confused by the ALR aspect of Smart Motorways.

Motorway -red -x _530x 353

During 2017 and 2018 there were almost 20,000 vehicle breakdowns in live lanes on Smart Motorways and Highways England currently has no system in place to automatically detect stopped vehicles and close live lanes. 

The Coroner for West Midlands has already raised concerns to Highways England about the safety of ALR on motorways after an eight-year-old child died when the car he was travelling in was involved in an accident on lane one of the M6 in 2018. At the time of the accident the child's grandfather had stopped with the hazard lights on in a live lane, but the car was struck by a lorry travelling at an estimated 56mph.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes “welcomed” the commitment to review Smart Motorway safety, but said new technology was needed to protect road users.

“We welcome a commitment from the Secretary of State to review smart motorway safety. We know from our own research that drivers feel the permanent removal of the hard shoulder compromises safety. 

“Drivers must have confidence that they will be protected from traffic in the event they suffer a breakdown in live lane, particularly where the hard shoulder has been permanently removed.

“We reiterate our calls for the latest stopped vehicle detection technology to be retrofitted on all sections of smart motorway as a matter of urgency.”

Comments

jchinuk    on 27 October 2019

Call me naive, but should not such a study have been completed before miles of motorway were converted?

Dragon 999    on 27 October 2019

I am in the 60 age group and been driving a long time, I see this as a crazy dangerous move. There are a lot of new drivers that stay away from motorways and scared of them, there are also a lot of older drivers that feel the same and I think we all know at least two people that think this way so you do the maths.
Youngsters will take to this new move but the rest of us will probably look at this as a bad move, ok you may get home a little quicker but if there is an accident and emergency services have to get through this will quickly become a life & death situation with drivers not knowing what to do when they see flashing lights in their rear mirrors. As professional drivers we have all seen people not knowing how to make way for an emergency vehicle, sad but very true with so many not willing to give up their little bit of road space to anyone... Whatever the situation.

Sir Kevin Parr, Baronet    on 28 October 2019

I am in the 60 age group and been driving a long time, I see this as a crazy dangerous move. There are a lot of new drivers that stay away from motorways and scared of them, there are also a lot of older drivers that feel the same and I think we all know at least two people that think this way so you do the maths. Youngsters will take to this new move but the rest of us will probably look at this as a bad move, ok you may get home a little quicker but if there is an accident and emergency services have to get through this will quickly become a life & death situation with drivers not knowing what to do when they see flashing lights in their rear mirrors. As professional drivers we have all seen people not knowing how to make way for an emergency vehicle, sad but very true with so many not willing to give up their little bit of road space to anyone... Whatever the situation.

To me the Governments feed off our backs. Road conditions now are among the worse in Europe.The electric car will cost so much to fuel if you look at what your electric bill is now double it at least for car journey of average miles 150 per week. My thought is this is to take us back into history of horse transport .Or perhaps Government run buses. Our independence gone. We work hard all our life to retire on 570 per month to my German next doors 2200 euro is nearly 2500 pounds per month as a street cleaner in Frankfurt. We are being ribbed to feed an investment in politics so fat ministers can retire on half million per month. how can Germany do this if UK cant ? Wake up smell the coffee and show the b******s who lead us blindly that we are the people of England who have not spoken yet

soldierboy 001    on 28 October 2019

2200 euro is £2000, and German pensions are based on what is paid in similar to our private pensions but taken from salary, so no comparison.

bob holmes    on 29 October 2019

On sunday, all four lanes full including the hard should.Ambulance trying to get though. Other drivers could not get out the way.Terribly stupid idea

flyingscotsman    on 28 October 2019

Rather than simply dismiss Smart Motorways as being dangerous as an opinion, I would prefer to let the facts speak. By all means review them, but, thus far, the statistics appear to show them as safer than non-smart Motorways.

For instance, the system automatically detects stationary vehicles via sensors and signs accordingly. Crucially, this applies to ALL lanes. If you break down in the outside lane of a Smart Motorway, your chances of survival are significantly better than on a non-smart Motorway.

As regards Emergency vehicles, Smart Motorways have capabilities which should help their progress.

But I have no firm opinion myself, and opinion is cheap. Let's have decisions based on facts and rigorous analysis of those facts

Trilly    on 28 October 2019

For instance, the system automatically detects stationary vehicles via sensors and signs accordingly. Crucially, this applies to ALL lanes. If you break down in the outside lane of a Smart Motorway, your chances of survival are significantly better than on a non-smart Motorway.

As regards Emergency vehicles, Smart Motorways have capabilities which should help their progress

Unfortunately in the real world of the “Smart” Motorway called the M3 this does not apply. I drive it every day during the week and have Highways agency preprogrammed into the cars speed dial due to the number of undetected cars/vans even lorries. If it was Smart I would need to call. The review can’t come soon enough as well as retrofitting lane detection systems that work.

WilliamRead    on 28 October 2019

I wonder if there are "Smart" motorways eg 4 lanes operating 24/7 with no hard shoulder, in any other countries? If so, what is their safety record?

Edited by WilliamRead on 28/10/2019 at 12:37

soldierboy 001    on 28 October 2019

In Spain there are some 2 lane motorways with stretches of no hard shoulder for some distance , with safety areas every 500 meters I think it is but have seen no problems but their motorways are not as busy as ours.

bob holmes    on 29 October 2019

and what are the infirm supposed to do.Crawl

DLDLDL    on 28 October 2019

We do of course have some very busy dual carriageways that lack hard shoulders (A19, A38, A1, A42, A3 come to mind - others can propose their own). I would not want to break down on these roads!

Government always looks for the cheapest solution; if it is eye-catching (like "Smart") so much the better. But by cheap-skating they are de-engineering the motorways (which were intended to take long haul traffic of the trunk road network), they are reducing safety.

Will we soon see routes on sat-navs etc. that avoid "Dumb Motorways" - inevitably putting more traffic onto the old (hard-shoulder free) trunk road network? For instance the A61 used to be a good peak-hour by-pass for the M1 between Alfreton and Sheffield.

Ron Osborn    on 28 October 2019

There needs to be a hard shoulder for breakdowns and for the emergency services to get past queuing traffic.. The hard shoulder was a design of the motorways. it is crazy to take away the hard shoulder so if you break down, you are in a live lane and almost certain to be hit from behind.. They could correct this problem, at no cost, just by having the red cross over the left lane so the hard shoulder remains in place.. The rest of it, the monitoring and variable limits etc can remain in place..

Edited by Ron Osborn on 28/10/2019 at 12:41

Mike Cross    on 28 October 2019

Continuing from Dragon 999: and drivers being prosecuted for removing their vehicle from the path of police or rescue service because they drove up onto a kerb to get securely out of the way.

christopher lloyd    on 28 October 2019

What is also very annoying is that when the hard shoulder is actually open, 99% lorry drivers just hog lanes 1 & 2 as they do normally causing traffic to back up. They need educating!

DLDLDL    on 28 October 2019

The previous comments on this URL (before they were overwritten when the story was revised) made reference to lorry drivers avoiding using the hard should because of the fear of ploughing into a broken down vehicle. (Car vs Lorry is rarely good for the car passengers).

It seems that the police are (wisely) refraining from prosecuting people for "Lane 1 hogging" when the Dumb Lane is open.

DaveWK    on 28 October 2019

What is also very annoying is that when the hard shoulder is actually open, 99% lorry drivers just hog lanes 1 & 2 as they do normally causing traffic to back up. They need educating!

Lorries should be restricted to Lane 1. They whinge that they would have to travel at the speed of the slowest. Too right.

44 tonners in the middle lane doing 59mph, crawling past another doing 57mph.

My missus in her little Corsa being intimidated by driver of a huge truck, inches from her rear end and then crawling past with the six foot diameter wheels inches from her earhole! Containers should be on the railway and delivered to distribution centres.

Convoys of huge trucks driving all over UK from Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Germany, ,Spain, Italy, etc. What are they carrying which we cannot produce here?

DLDLDL    on 31 October 2019

Lorries should be restricted to Lane 1. They whinge that they would have to travel at the speed of the slowest. Too right.

But when you hit an incline and an older underpowered lorry slows down, if others can't overtake, they all start dropping down through the gears, getting slower and slower, possibly even grinding to a halt. That is dangerous.

Lorries have to be permitted to overtake (imposing a minimum speed is probably not viable or enforceable) which means they have to be able to use lane 1 and 2.

On three lane motorways that forces 56mph+ traffic all into lane 3 (don't even think about 2 lane motorways - we have them!). That often causes problems.

So what to do?

1) Four lane motorways - probably justified in heavily used areas; but getting them by using the hard shoulder is perverse ("this is a heavily trafficed area so we are going to present a less safe solution")

2) Traffic separation. Do we need a two lane "HGV only" motorway from say London to Birmingham and then in say a Y shape up to Manchester and Leeds, leaving the existing motorway network for non-HGV traffic? (Possible ANPR enforced exception for shorthaul HGV traffic on all motorways?)

3) Put long haul freight onto the railways? Unfortunately we were first with the railways so our "Loading gauge" (height/width clearances) are inadequate for roll on/off traffic as on the Continent (or Channel Tunnel). Refitting trunk routes with bigger bridges/tunnels, moved platforms, raised overhead lines etc. is probably not on.

What is probably going to become clear is that a solution is needed.

David Ireland    on 28 October 2019

Looking at the ones on the M25 and M3 (both ALR), they are too far apart ~1.5 miles, so that if you have just passed one you will probably not be able to reach the next one. They are too small, so that if you are near one you will not be able to stop in time, leading to the previous problem. They are too small to allow for decent acceleration out of them into the flood of traffic. They are too small to allow a second vehicle into them unless it is going very slowly (unlikely event, but the designers should not be relying on statistics).
Poor design, really.

Wish131    on 28 October 2019

As much as I hate them, the only smart motorways are those with average speed cameras as they actually control the traffic. (I appreciate the associated danger of watching your speedo rather than the road). I have frequently suffered the vagaries of the M60 and am always fascinated by the slowing down for “live” speed notice gantries and accelerating once theoretically clear of the cameras. If we want to be really smart we need to control the flow of traffic commensurate to the conditions eg weather, volume or as a reaction to an incident. Furthermore we need to provide drivers with information that explains why the speed limit or a lane closure has been introduced. Simple information such as how many miles of roadworks we have left before a clear highway would reduce frustration and tail gating.

soldierboy 001    on 28 October 2019

Most modern cars have means of setting a speed maximum so no looking at speedo is required.

bob holmes    on 29 October 2019

I drove down this one on sunday. all four lanes full. Nowhere to run to.This is about saving money by not building extra lanes.Next bright idea is to let cars drive down pavements in town?

Diggerssenior    on 28 October 2019

Call me naive, but should not such a study have been completed before miles of motorway were converted?

I totally agree with you. These concerns were raised but totally ignored by successive Ministers The whole concept of blocking off an emergency path is beyond ludicrous.

Millions upon millions have been poured into this crazy scheme and now millions will be poured in to change them all back (I hope).

Bob Howison    on 28 October 2019

It doesn't take a genius to realise how dangerous they are, there should always be a hard shoulder available. The constant reduced speed limit signs are used often unnecessarily which causes bunching. The M42 onto the two lane A42 is a classic example of this. It's evident that too many highway decision makers are not experienced drivers.

Stephen Szmidt    on 28 October 2019

Of course these smart motorways are putting motorists lives at risk! When this review confirms this & all the works that have already been completed have to be reversed, how much money will the government have wasted on this huge error, including costs related to the accidents caused & disruption during the conversions!

Bob Howison    on 28 October 2019

It doesn't take a genius to realise how dangerous they are, there should always be a hard shoulder available. The constant reduced speed limit signs are used often unnecessarily which causes bunching. The M42 onto the two lane A42 is a classic example of this. It's evident that too many highway decision makers are not experienced drivers.

Ian Basford    on 28 October 2019

There need to be some form of hard shoulder unless you want the death toll to go up - i can't believe this was not apparent from the beginning. On top of the cost, there is the massive disruption caused. It must be getting on for 10 years now since you could drive from Liverpool to Leeds without being slowed down by a conversion contraflow. What impact has all these traffic jams had on people's lives and fuel consumption.

soldierboy 001    on 28 October 2019

How smart is this, I drove north along a smart motorway stretch of the M1 at peak time and the hard shoulder was not being used, red cross, a few days later on a Sunday I returned from the north to find a smart motorway stretch signed for all lanes to be used and virtually no traffic.

batterseamike    on 28 October 2019

I have been watching the alterations to make the M23 into a smart motorway and am struck by two things.
1:There seem to be very few emergency lay-bys and they seem rather small, I doubt that a tractor trailer vehicle could fit and it would certainly, if it could, not be able to rejoin the lane with any speed.
2: Miles of hard bariers are being installed right alongside the new lane making it impossible to find safety if an emergency lay-by is not reachable. It would seem to me more sensible to leave at least some verg so that a vehicle could at least partly remove itself from the carriageway and reduce the risk of being hit.

DLDLDL    on 31 October 2019

2: Miles of hard barriers are being installed right alongside the new lane making it impossible to find safety if an emergency lay-by is not reachable.

The crash barriers are meant to absorb any sideways movement and stop vehicles going down embankments etc without bouncing back into traffic.

What many don't understand is that many crash barriers are meant to stretch and distort sideways to absorb the energy of a crashing vehicle. They can move sideways dramatically more than a metre over a considerable length!

For the broken down motorist they represent two dangers.

  1. If you pull over too far, you then can't open your passenger door to get out. Getting out through an offside door is not recommended due to the danger of you or your door being snatched by the very significant turbulence (even impact) caused by a passing lorry or bus.
  2. You can't get out of your broken down car (as recommended) and then sit on the crash barrier with you legs dangling in the mangle zone between the barrier and your car. You have to move well away (and if jumping over the barrier, checking that that barrier is not also a bridge parapet!)

Plodding Along    on 28 October 2019

The real problem is twofold; far, far too much traffic on our outdated 3 lane motorway system coupled with decades of government incompetence. We now have traffic like America does but with only around a quarter of the motorway infrastructure of America. More people will die thanks to under-investment from our so called government; members of which probably never have to drive a car themselves. They are more likely to take trains and taxis. My wife has to drive from Manchester to Bristol and back every week on the M6 & M5 and that journey can be absolutely horrendous. The lanes are too narrow, driver courtesy and consideration is nil and there are far too many HGVs on our roads. Saldy, as usual, this stupud country has done everything backwards - we privatise public transport making it expensive, irregular, unreliable and dirty at a time when we need it to be the opposite. People will never abandon their private cars now, the only answer is fewer people or more roads. If nothing changes soon, there will be fewer people as more and more die needlessly on our overcrowed, unfit for purpose national highway system. It's an appalling situation for one of the world's richest countries to be in. But there are many, many more appalling situations this country has fallen into as well. b***** disgrace.

Edited by Plodding Along on 28/10/2019 at 14:48

   on 28 October 2019

When you open up Smart motorway, By using the Hard shoulder there should be speed limit on this
Only Lane, of 40 MPH. So if some body has broken down Stopping on the Hard shoulder, as
This the right part of the motorway . Having maximum speed only in this Lane,
Any vehicles driving in this lane should be able to stop, Once they see the Hazard lights on the
Broken down vehicle. , or even lower speed limi in this lane. , By using Variable speed limits.
Plus there should be more, Clear places to pull clear of all motorway traffic
AS HAVE BEEN HGV DRIVER.

Mike Mckay    on 28 October 2019

This isnt even surprising for a UK government, spending billions on a project without (it now seems) really bothering to look into both the pros and cons of the new option compared to the old.

Not only was stopped vehicle detection ridiculous to not be included on motorways with a camera every 100 feet or so, but killing the first lane half a mile before a junction or even further on heavy traffic exits and the same after the junction to make it easier for drivers to enter the flowing traffic were also something I "expected" to see but didnt

Of course OUR government was much more interested in how many speeding tickets they could give out than motorists tax being spent on making driving better for the people who paid that money was hoping for too much

As for motorways in general, I have always thought that passing your test should ONLY mean you can drive on "normal" roads, similar to the CBT for a motorbike, and that you should have to take another test after 6months to a couple of years specifically aimed at a short couple of days training for motorway driving which if passed THEN allows you to use motorways. Instead we learn to drive on 20-50 mile an hour roads, get a licence and can then go on motorways with traffic moving at 70+ miles per hour with the added complexity of getting onto and off the motorway at speeds a new driver has NEVER experienced

Steve Crane    on 28 October 2019

The amazing thing is that the Head of Highways England said he would not be opening any more Smart Motorways.
Up until this it seemed that all the officials in government and particularly traffic management in the whole country were in support of any measure that made life difficult for motorists, regardless how counterproductive they were.

keith higgs    on 28 October 2019

The concept is inherently dangerous. The whole idea of removing the hard shoulder means the government is gambling with people's lives.
What is not being considered too is the information that is displayed on these gantry signs is almost always well out of date and misleading. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told there is a queue ahead or debris or something only for there to be nothing at all. This is almost worse that no information. Any information displayed should be updated far more regularly (I mean every few minutes) to ensure it reflects reality. Right now I have zero confidence in the information being provided and actually find it is better to ignore it.
I call them DUMB motorways, not smart. In fact all the things called 'smart' are never smart, they are all DUMB!!!
Keith Higgs

John B Stryge    on 28 October 2019

I remember the "three lane highways", one lane in each direction and a common centre overtaking lane. Make a mistake and you would be in a head on 140 mph impact. Drivers fault, of course, so no need to do anything -- until the public pressure forced their removal. I also remember motorways with no central barriers. Any kind of incident or problem with tyres or steering (not uncommon at the time) and you risked crossing the central reservation into another 140 mph impact. No need to install barriers because the ministry blamed drivers' errors -- until the public pressure forced their installation. Is it too cynical to say that Government always goes for the quick, cheap option then tries to ignore the resultant carnage. Drivers do make mistakes and always will, so why give them more likely?

John B Stryge    on 28 October 2019

"give them more likely" - brain running ahead of fingers. Should have written why make the mistake more likely.

Brian Harbord    on 28 October 2019

Motorways are the safest roads in the country and English motorways are among the safest in the world.

Since the 1970s the many predecessors of Highways England have been researching, developing, piloting and assessing techniques to improve safety and reduce congestion on the network, reducing fatalities year on year in most years.

Analysis of Police incident reports in the 1970s showed that the hardshoulder was the most dangerous lane on a motorway and that warning signals could improve safety in all lanes, leading to the installation of Motorwarn lanterns and then the ubiquitous motorway matrix signals on all motorways.

In the 1980s research showed that incidents could be avoided or reduced with faster automated systems, rather than manual monitoring and signal setting. The Autowarn system, developed and trialled on the M4 approaches to the (original) Severn Bridge included hardshoulder and running lane detection, but proved too expensive to roll out. The M1 AID (Automatic Incident Detection) trial did not include hardshoulder monitoring, but proved cost-effective and was rolled out on the most congested 800km of motorways in the 1990s as part of the Labour Government's Smarter Roads Programme, having been renamed MIDAS (Motorway Incident Detection and Automatic Signalling) after the acronym AIDS was rejected by Ministers, for obvious reasons.

The 1990s also saw the development of improved signals and mandatory speed limits as part of the M25 Action Plan and M25 Controlled Motorway Programme, which long term assessment confirmed reduced fatal/serious injury incidents by up to 25% Part-time hardshoulder running was to be trialled on the M25 but the safety analysis did not prove it could be done without compromising safely.

After further research and development of new technologies and analysis of international experience, a safety case was made for the M42 ATM (Active Traffic Management) scheme. This pilot scheme included detailed safety analysis of the design to ensure it was at least as safe as a traditional motorway and analysis of the operation of the scheme showed this had been more than achieved, with safety improvements in excess of 40%.

The success of the M42 led to the roll-out of the technique as the Smart Motorway Initiative, initially with part-time hardshoulder running. Some of the more serious safety hazards of part-time operation are associated with the opening and closing of the hardshoulder so the permanent conversion of the hardshoulder to a running lane should have further improved safety.

However, other changes were made to the design standards, including wider spacing of gantries and safe havens, which may have had a negative effect on safety. A detailed safety review should be able to identify if there are any safety issues and, if there are, how to correct them.

From comments on this forum it appears that one of the most important lessons from the M25 and M42 Pilots may have been forgotten - comprehensive publicity and education are key to the success of such schemes!


John B Stryge    on 29 October 2019

In essence motorway is just a dual carriageway on a bigger, faster scale with special rules. When motorways were planned vehicles were slower and fewer. Nevertheless, experience suggested a hard shoulder was necessary. Is there a retired expert from the Highways Agency, perhaps an independent Consultant in Intelligent Transport Systems and Services, who can explain how the original logic was flawed and a dedicated hard shoulder is no longer needed?

DLDLDL    on 31 October 2019

Analysis of Police incident reports in the 1970s showed that the hardshoulder was the most dangerous lane on a motorway ...

Depends how you measure it:

  1. People Killed (by lane). Inevitably the hard shoulder is the most lethal because most broken down (and therefore stationary traffic) is in that lane, and that is where you get people out of vehicles changing wheels, refuelling etc.
  2. People Killed (by comparison of similarly loaded roads with/without hard shoulders). Common sense (often dangerous) would seem to say creating an extra lane for broken down vehicles / emergency access must make a road safer (all other things - load, number of lanes, lane width, topography etc. being equal.)

If you want to justify a plan of action you can select your means of measurement to suit - which applies to most government policy developments.

I might add that in the 1970, hard shoulders were often misused - for children to take a pee in the gutter - even picnicking (complete with fold out tables and chairs!). Since then there have been numerous attempts to teach people how to treat the hard shoulder.

  • Only stop in an emergency that cannot wait to the next exit
  • Stop with room to get out the nearside
  • Turn wheels into the "fend" position, so if your vehicle is struck from behind it is driven into the crash barrier and not back out into traffic
  • Put hazard lights on
  • Get out through nearside doors (not easy now with big centre consoles!)
  • wear hi-viz
  • Stand well clear, well behind the crash barrier (provided it is not a bridge parapet)
  • Use phone to call for help
  • Don't be embarrassed to call for assistance to for instance change an offside wheel

Model Flyer    on 28 October 2019

It appears the CEO of Highways England's arrogance has no bounds ! If your account is correct and he said the following " because drivers found them too complicated to understand. He also admitted that some drivers were confused by the ALR aspect of Smart Motorways." proves his inability to accept that he might ,just might be wrong . Of course we , or most of us understand the system , we all understand too well that they are b***** dangerous . This is compounded by some foreign drivers who are not used to our system , idiot drivers, who seem to be on the increase and an almost non existent police presence on our motorwaysto sort any problems quickly especially here in the south east.

Edited by Model Flyer on 28/10/2019 at 19:33

aethelwulf    on 28 October 2019

To a government - anonymous bureaucrats - motorists are expendable.In the interest of speeding up the majority of the traffic for as little cost as possible the 'smart' motorway was a Godsend. It will not change and a review is the government term for whitewash. I know I have been in local government at a senior level.
The number of accidents is small compared to the 'normal' accidents of drivers ignoring signals, not paying attention or simple going too fast for their ability or the road's ability.
The bottom line is that the UK is small and overcrowded , especial y the parts where the motorways are. It will all be cured by 2040 with electric cars creeping about to conserve their batteries. Just stay alive until then and if you break down leg it up the bank, unless you have arthritic knees that will not get over the barriers. Then you say your prayers.

Cliff Marsh    on 28 October 2019

There seems to be a trend in marketing to give products names that are the opposite of what they really are. Hence Stupid Motorways are called Smart Motorways.

Yes there will be plenty of deaths, but on the plus side look at that lovely lolly the government can raise in extra fines.

sixcylinder    on 28 October 2019

Smart motorways are typical of our attitude in the UK, "build down to a price and not up to a quality".

bob holmes    on 29 October 2019

the people who allowed DIM motorways should be forced to use them in the worst possible conditions for find out what it's like.

I drove down from Macclesfield on sunday. Heavy rain, all four lane ( including hard shoulder) jammed with traffic. If you broke down ,no chance of getting to the inner lane. If in the inner lane and broke down there was absolutely no place to go but stand IN the traffic. At one place on the hard should should there was no barrier to hide behind and a steep bank to climb up.Imagine also you have young kids, babies, ancient grandads ( I;m one) unable to move very fast.

This is an utterly stupid idea and worthy of the DARWIN prize. Ask me if I was worried.....

bob holmes    on 29 October 2019

I drove from Macclesfield M62? It was very frightening as all four lanes including the hard shoulder were jammed. There was nowhere to hide. I kept in lane one just in case i met a broken down car.Stupidest idea since ever.

VINCENT MILLARD    on 29 October 2019

Call me naive, but should not such a study have been completed before miles of motorway were converted?

Yes of Course it should, but this is the UK . GOV here, if it's cheap it's Safe until proven otherwise! Of course People have to Die to prove that it's unsafe! But even now they just Talk about it.

Do we see any of the 1st Lanes being reverted to Hard Shoulders?

And they could have put in Auto detection systems, whilst converting the Hard Shoulders.

But do you think this would have stopped the Carnage?

As I said before we need Motorway Patrols, to shut a long section with Cones and Flashing lights, along with Auto Detect and this is WITH Hard Shoulders.

   on 29 October 2019



Logic tells me that smart motorways are unsafe.
We don't choose how and where we breakdown. At least on the old hard shoulder you had a fair chance of coasting across the lanes and onto the continuous length of a hard shoulder thus giving you time to slow down should you have a brake problem, whats the chance of doing this on an allocated emergency lay-by on the Smart lane? the emergency lay-bys are very short so you may not be able reduce your speed in time, and whats the chances of breaking down just near an emergency lay-bys?
Other good points made against the current Smart Motorways are because of the short length of the emergency lay-by how an earth do you join the other lane if you cant build up a decent speed ? ALR are daft and more so if I understand that at the moment there is no cameras to spot if a vehicle has broken down.?
Lets hope the current road minister takes his up and coming review of Smart motorways seriously.

CanAmSteve    on 29 October 2019

Anyone else ever noticed how the large temporary metal warning signs are just left haphazardly on the edge of central reservations all the time? Easy to hit accidentally and certainly capable of killing you or someone behind or going the other way. Often the signs are not even in use. I do wonder about our highways "experts".

And can we get French-style motorway signage please? You know, with repeater signs in the central reservation so that exit signs are not always obscured by a line of lorries?

Andrew Greening    on 29 October 2019

In theory Smart Motorways should work well to accommodate the rise and fall of traffic flow during the day or night. The actual practise becomes very flawed when used by the motoring public who have zero idea of what they are doing on the Smart Motorway come to that on ANY Motorway.
Poor Lane discipline, inability to keep to the posted limit, poorly maintained vehicle amongst a host of others all contribute to the major flaw-THE MOTORIST.
Before anyone takes a swipe at me have a look in your rear view mirror and honestly say you have never made a mistake!! Come to that do you use the mirrors because there's plenty of examples out there who clearly don't and have near misses or collisions through nothing more than inept driving.
Those who want to get HGV's off the road and insist on railways being used for transport of goods, I say if you want a railhead in your Town Village or Hamlet the petition for one but I will guarantee you'll wish you hadn't in short order because of the noise and racket trains and carriages make when on the move, that and the ignorant drivers who use the train horn inappropriately.
Every time I encounter a reduced speed limit on any motorway whilst driving an Artic i see the time I have left to get to a destination increase by the minute and to cite one of the contributors here a Lorry was inches away from his wifes' back bumper. i would bet money that it was in a 50 MPH zone on a Motorway and his wife was in the centre lane travelling 5 to 10 MPH less than the posted limit.
You may not be travelling very far but a truck driver most certainly will be in the order of at least 400+miles per day BUT at best 56 MPH and for a Maximum of 4 1/2 hours before having to take a break of 45 minutes. Then another 4 1/2 hours before having to take a daily rest of 11 hours ( it is more complicated but not for here but them's the basic rules)
Therefore, you travelling at less than is posted is eating into his/her drive time and as vehicles drawing trailers are expressly forbidden from the outermost lane of a Motorway it does not surprise me that they are inches off your bumper trying either to get you speed up to the limit or to move out of the way in Lane 1 ( Slow Lane ) Not steadfastly staying put in Lane 2 ( Cruising Lane ) for mile after mile and being a general idiot towards your fellow motorist regardless of what they drive.
If a car breaks down then there is a time gap between the incident and the Red X signs being implemented and i have already had a near miss with a stationary car in Lane 1 on a left hand bend of the M25 towards J27 which,had i not previously checked my mirrors a few seconds before would have resulted in me having to manouvre past the stationary car but could have collided with another to my immediate right thereby causing even more mayhem. It needs cameras to immediately recognise a stationary car and to initiate the Red X within seconds of that otherwise casualties will ensue. I am NOT in favour of Smart Motorways

Add a comment

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car