Love them or loathe them, smart motorways seem to be here to stay. Their electronic overhead gantries give you important information such as an upcoming variable speed limit or a lane closure—marked with a red ‘X’. But instead of moving to another lane, as you should when you see a red X sign, Highways England says thousands of motorists ignore them.
Now, thanks to new legislation allowing penalty enforcement by gantry-mounted automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, as of the 10th of June, if you’re snapped driving in a closed lane, you’ll get an automatic £100 fine and three penalty points on your licence.
Since 2006, Highways England has turned hundreds of miles of England’s motorways into ‘smart’ motorways—using the hard shoulder either as a permanent or part-time traffic lane, depending on the smart motorway format. With the potential of no available hard shoulder, if you break down or are in a collision, operators can close lanes to help protect you.
Punishment for using a closed lane isn’t new. Failure to obey a lawful traffic sign is an offence under section 36(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and you risk a fine of up to £1,000 plus three penalty points, or even disqualification. Until now, prosecution for ignoring a red X sign relied on a police officer witnessing the offence.
A survey by the RAC of 2,093 motorists showed that 99% of respondents understood a red X meant a lane closure and 84% of those who used a smart motorway in the last year noticed the red Xs on overhead gantries. Yet 23% ignored these signs and used closed lanes at least occasionally and on purpose, or accidentally.
Forty-eight per cent of those questioned stated they observed motorists disobeying red X signs ‘frequently’ with 36% witnessing it ‘occasionally’.
Only 7% of respondents reported not having seen motorists ignore red X signs but speak to a regular motorway user and they might tell you they’re frustrated seeing too many warnings for non-existent hazards, which could explain the level of complacency—a dangerous thing when driving, especially on a motorway.
When asked their opinions of those motorists who snub red X signals, 61% of those surveyed considered these drivers ‘irresponsible’. Fifty-four per cent said they’re at risk of getting into a serious accident, 45% said they’d made an innocent but potentially dangerous mistake, and 37% said they were unobservant and perhaps shouldn’t be driving.
Sixty-six per cent of motorists surveyed by the RAC were in favour of using ANPR cameras to catch those who drive on closed lanes with only 34% against.
One in 20 flout the rules
Mike Wilson, Chief Highways Engineer for Highways England, said:
“Our motorways are already among the safest in the world but this move will make them even safer.
“Red X signs over closed lanes help protect drivers from dangers ahead. Most drivers comply with lane closures, but the minority of people who don’t are putting themselves and other road users at real risk.
“We welcome this auto-enforcement and the increase to driver safety it will bring.”
Also welcoming automatic penalties for drivers ignoring red X signs is Edmund King, President of the AA. He said:
“Although it has taken far too long, this is a welcome measure to improve safety on motorways.”
King reported that their research showed that one in 20 drivers continue to drive in red X lanes even when they’ve seen the warning sign.
“Red X’s are put up to warn of an obstruction, so drivers must get out of the lane when they see them. We have had several incidents recently where AA members’ cars have been hit in a live lane on ‘smart’ motorways’,” he added.
Hit the road
There are three types of smart motorways; all of which use variable speed limits to suit conditions:
Controlled Motorways (CM), which keep a permanent hard shoulder only for emergencies.
Dynamic Hard Shoulder Motorways (also known as Managed Motorways Dynamic Hard Shoulder (MM-DHS)). DHS motorway hard shoulders can become a fourth lane during peak congestion.
All-Lanes Running Motorways (ALR). These motorways are the most common. In place of a hard shoulder are permanent fourth lanes and emergency refuge areas (ERAs) every 2.5km (1.55 miles).
Concerned for driver safety, organisations like the AA called for more refuge lay-bys on ALR routes to which Highways England said it would reduce the gap between ERAs to every mile, ‘where practical’, to offer ‘greater reassurance to road users’.
Safety aside, more ERAs would mean fewer instances of broken down vehicles causing lane closures, cutting the number of motorists getting fines and points on their licence because of not spotting a red X warning in time.
Many drivers say they sometimes can’t safely change lanes straight away, particularly during peak hours.
People have witnessed motorway drivers dangerously slam on their brakes when they see a sign for a speed change—presumably fearing the speed cameras. With this in mind, take extra care to avoid motorists who may now panic when they spot a red X, and suddenly swerve into another lane when it’s not safe and without warning.
Do you welcome the new legislation? Is this another revenue generator or a genuine safety issue? Tell us in the comments.
If the road network (for which we already pay through the nose) were adequate, we wouldn’t need these “smart” lanes anyway. It’s just setting us up to fail.
How would you tackle the forecasted increase in traffic volumes? The removal of the hard shoulder has proven to be safer in most cases if not equally safe as the current motorway with hard shoulder and it costs less and can provide the extra capacity quicker… What suggestions do you have to tackle the problem?
Build sufficient roads of sufficient capacity and quality
No matter how many roads you build or enlarge, the traffic inevitably increases to fill it. I do respond to red xs as soon as I think it’s safe to do so. Lanes are busy and quiet in waves, and I try to do most of my lane changes when there’s more space to do it, but I start to do that as soon as I see the sign.
That’s not true. There can be no more vehicles on the road than there are issued licences except for foreign users in the UK at the time.
THERE ARE MORE AND MORE VEHICLES ON THE ROAD EACH AS YOUNGER GENERATIONS AND OLDER DRIVERS LIVE LONGER AN D CONTINUE DRIVING LONGER (MYSELF INCLUDED-A RETIRED PROFESSIONAL DRIVER) AS WELL AS MORE AND MORE OVERSEAS VEHICLES USING OUR ROADS. FURTHERMORE VEHICLES HAVE ICREAED IN SIZE CONSIDERAB;Y- TAKE THE MINI AS A TYPICAL EXAMPLE-THE CURRENT VERSION IS CONSISERABLY LARGER THE THE FIRST MODEL. ANOTHER ISSUE IS THE WEIGHT ALLOWANCE FOR LORRIES HAS BEE INCREASED GREATLY OVER THE YEARS THUS CALLING FOR MUCH LARGER VEHICLES.
FOR THESE REASONS WE NEED BIGGER ROADS
PS. 60 PLUS YEARS AGO I RECALL THE DUST CARTS USED TO USE ALLEYWAYS BEHIND HOUSES ON THE ESTATE WHERE I GREW UP, BUT NOW THE MODERN ONES CANNOT GET INTO THE ALLEYS LET ALOE NEGOTIATE THE TUR NS IN THEM!
All new Laws whether for road use or otherwise can be used as a security for government to raise capital for running the country, this why we have so many rules, however I do think we should all co-operate for safety concerns and maybe make the offending driver retrain and restrict their use of a motor vehicle till they understand the rules of the road
IF THE RULES INVOLE A CUSTODIAL SENTENCE THEN IT COSTS THE GOVERNMENT MONY AND WHO PAYS FOR THAT?
Ye knock down a few homes and slap another road thro anything to please the motorist why not all slow down a bit slow more time and stop aggression on the road
Cheaper public transport (make it free like in some countries), or cost so low, you would be stupid to drive. Building new roads is a solution, but we only have so much land and cash.
All the money collected on fuel and road tax should all be spent on roads and Public transport.
Ok – it all involves having lots of money. YES…The government could invent there own government-backed money and cut out the bankers. No interest to pay, no banksters to keep happy. Government workers get paid with government-backed money. Very simple and would work.
Any other questions?
The pound is Government backed money, issued by the governments own bank the “Bank on England” and has been since 1946.
“Cheaper public transport” (make it free like some countries)” it is not free you pay for it out of taxes.
‘governments own bank’ my Aunt Fanny.
Please look up who owns the BoE – clue – it is not the government.
John, please enlighten us.
Who do you believe owns the BoE?
Mr. M. Carney will be able to advise if you need clarity.
Total info from companies house:
BANK OF ENGLAND Company number RC000042
Company type Royal Charter company.
i.e. mind your own business.
Ill hazard a guess its the same people that own the federal reserve, the reserve bank of south africa and many more central banks, the Rothschilds!
The pound, or pounds are a debt instrument backed by absolutely nothing, printed out of thin air by the Bank of England – a private company run by private individuals..
The Bank of England was nationalised in 1946.
Quite Steven, seem to be a few ill informed people on her also exhibiting their lack of objectivity.
If money is created by the BoE, or commercial banks on their behalf as most of it is, then it cannot be “paid for by tax”, rather their money creation creates the money that is paid in tax or in other words Tax money does not create money for government spending, rather government spending money creates (at least some of the) tax money.
It’s an flowstock accounting relationship, not a profit and loss account system as politicians would have you believe
You are mad, Public transport in city yeah fine. Anywhere else it’s stupid. Train don’t go where you want, busses cost millions and sit in city 6 litter Diesel Engine running 12mpg and still doesn’t go where you want
For me that a 30min ride to nearest bus two changes to get near work take 2:25. Car makes that in hour
Add self driving and ev. Pubic transport done for
Immigration en mass over the past 20 years despite not having sufficient housing has also exacerbated road congestion, not to mention many other aspects of public/government services.
Tell that to the friends and family of all the people who have been killed on so called Smart Motorways.. The Telegraph had another in their issue of 10th September… When you break down on a smart motorway there is “nowhere” safe for you get to… unless you get close to the 1 mile apart laybye….
I have been saying that for years and so have the emergency services.
Clearly you have spent much time stationary outside of a vehicle on the side of a motorway. As much as people hate cameras, the most effective from the motorists perspective would be to used blanket average speed cameras no the motorways. The increase smoothness and reduction in pollution, would enable an increase of speed limits.
Deport everyone non gen English. Scottish and Welch. All Immigration Of the fit and young If we need skilled staff,
Every one on unemployment benefits allocated to pothole repair and road improvements if not in training for above skilled job
Rebuild UK jobs mr Dyson,rover, ford and Nissan, Forced redundancy for any Union members ( yes it was your fault, we don’t make cars anymore) (yes that means fire brigade strike solved, coworkers streaks solved, nhs workers. Well unemployed and kick of there cheap rate home if u not going the work) tax non uk made imports
Make UK great again)
Send Bob Smith back to school to learn to write properly. Maybe even deport him for his atrocious punctuation. Make Bob Smith make sense again.
Join the discussion..
It’s not the immigrants bringing this country to it’s knees Bob it’s the indigenous population, people such as you pal. I hope with your shocking lack of command of the English language, that you don’t hold a driving licence.
Amazing how many people have voted down “Make UK great again..”
Slow the traffic down at peak times. Enforce speed restrictions with average speed cameras.
THATS WHAT SMART MOTORWAYS DO!!!
More roads or less people. 1 million more people every 3 years soon adds up. No brainer.
Tell that to the people who’ve been killed or injured whilst broken down on the hard shoulder of a smart motorway. There is nothing smart about removing the hard shoulder.
Who says they’re safer certainly not the emergency services who have difficulty getting to emergencies because the so called smart motorway is blocked !,
You try spotting some signs in driving rain or fog.
The signs are illuminated and there are warnings for at least a mile or two before the lane closures. Poor visibility is poor excuse for not taking adequate notice of safety signs, and if visibility is that poor you should be driving at a more appropriate speed.
The observers are in India, another farmed out job.
If you’re so desperate to do it you can always relocate.
The observers are in the uk 🇬🇧 at the motorway control centres, not India 🇮🇳.
The observers I know are UK graduates. In this country. The offspring of friends after graduating, one with MSc did that job while looking for something more permanent.
Rwthless, if they are UK graduates God help us. They are to thick/ lazy to turn the signs off once the problem has been solved and they screw Birmingham traffic up by putting them on at stupid low speed when there is no traffic causing the jams at 9 to 6 every day. Send um back for more training.
Clearly Robert is driving without due care and attention. Gawking at his onboard TV
You should have said what if you are not allowed back into an approved lain as the lain is busy with traffic… or something….lol.
Ultimately follow the dame law and you will be ok… sounds good to me.
Oh dear, more dame awful lains……….
God dame lains.
Dame Law eh? Have the Norsemen returned again?
That’s fine but how about fining Highways England when they leave the red X up way after the lane has reopened, or when they put the red X up inappropriately miles before the incident, causing more congestion than necessary?
Smart motorways are fine but they are operated by dummies so just fining drivers won’t fix anything except the shortfall in the HE budget
I couldn’t agree with you more. Exactly the same with the variable speed limits. The times you see very low limits for miles then suddenly a 70mph the next then goes back to 50 or 40mph. surely this just causes waves which causes more congestion than they are supposed to help. There are so many cameras surely the the operators can see whats happening.
Yep, totally agree, how many times have we come across reduced speed limits on motorways followed by the “all clear” sign when there has been nothing there !! This is part of the reason that so many people “ignore” these signs ( not saying I do, but I get fed up with following the signals just to see they are incorrect ) We need to make sure they get used in the correct manner
Exactly why i have been advocating Average Speed systems (not necessarily for enforcement) to replace the current loop system . It means you have a true picture of what vehicle movements are. Incidently it was how I was able to prove to management why there was a congestion only in lane 3 of the M3 after M25 traffic joint it going south bound.
I agree with you Neil and Mark but feel the state of the motorways merely reflect the decline in standards of society as a whole. It’s all going down the sewer…………….
Yeah. I got warned for ignoring a red X a couple of years back. Joining the M25 clockwise from the M26 there’d been an accident several miles ahead with the inside lane closed off as a result. The red X signs started miles beforehand as they closed off the inside 3 lanes leaving the outer 2 running. Traffic was practically stationary with nobody wanting to let people in front of them so those of us on the inside having just joined from the M26 just carried on until eventually we had to move across in the process going under several red X signs. Dangerous? I think not with nobody moving at much more than 10 MPH across all 5 lanes.
Yes, a good one. Or when they reduce speed for no reason. Have you ever seen the speed reduced signs in the centre virga? Saying 50mph and you slow down for it pass two signs saying the same thing and the road is clear …wtf next time we all ignore it. You fooled me once and not next time…lol
Ash , your problem will be that the smart Camara will pop you for speeding. People also need to stop driving in the middle lane all day because it wastes the space made on inside lanes, I love watching middle lane hoggers looking lost on four lane sections of motorway.
So, is the smart camera so smart as to be able to confirm who’s license will be docked 3 points?? It’s not thought through.
It’s exactly the same as for speed cameras. It is the responsibility of the registered owner of the car to declare who was driving at that time.
Just hope the owner is not an MP
They fined the licenced driver, and if that driver objects they take you to court and ask you why and who was driving. You are legally required to say.
Know who the driver is , is only one aspect. They still have to not only prove the offence but also that it was beyond your control to not be in that lane. This is why there is an envidence pack produced by the camera for each offence.
If you haven’t been sailing past stationary drivers at speed, then expecting to be let in, your indicator should show your intent. In most of the congestion I’ve been in I let one person in, then the driver behind me lets another car in. Politeness is usually rewarded. Impatient entitled bargers get to wait a bit longer, but they get let in when they try politeness.
The Age of Bans and Punishment. Why are we making Life more and more complicated – and not crediting anyone with any degree of common sense?
If everybody had common sense and drove appropriately this wouldn’t be necessary but regrettably that isn’t the case. Most drivers think they know better and we all suffer the consequences.
Everyone drives as it suits them no matter what, the do gooders feel proud to comply to the speed limit, the others just don’t give a damn, each to their own, drive fast drive slow but don’t hold anyone up nor tailgate them. Whatever’s going to happen will happen, driver skill and control is the elephant in the room everyone always overlooks.
So you see the X but weight of traffic prevents you moving over in time. £100 fine?
Signs warning of the closure are displayed a couple of miles before the lane closure, there’s always plenty of time to join the open lanes unless of course you’re thundering past near stationary traffic at 80mph
Say you see a Stop sign at a normal junction. Same logic?
Absolutely right! The red X is mandatory and for the protection of approaching motorists and for motorists and personnel at a hazard. Anyone ignoring the red X is potentially putting others’ lives at risk as well as their own. It’s also very frustrating to witness drivers gaining an unfair advantage getting to an exit when observing the rules oneself, as everyone pushing in further along the queue unfairly increases the journey time for everyone else.
Well said – totally agree
Agreed. Anyone ignoring it is stupid and ignorant.
And who is going to fine offenders. We have a sensible but meaningless 70 moh speed limit that everybody breaks. I travelled down the M4 recently where tge average soeed must have been 85 mph but no one thought they woukd be caught.
And for those who think my views stupid just think back to how many times you have gee6n held up by accidents on the motorways.
If I recall correctly, the M4 (the bits I occasionally use anyway) is not yet “smart” and so doesn’t have the gantry cameras with ANPR that are mentioned in the artcle.
They just spent about five years making M4 “smart” past Reading (J10 to J12) and now they are starting J10 to J4 (Bracknell to Heathrow). Of course, Heathrow expansion is going to destroy the M4/M25 junction and take 20+ years to complete, so the M4 will just be smart in time for the end of personal transport.
If using ANPR cameras, the notice would be delivered by Royal Mail and the fine would probably have to be paid to the local police for wherever the ‘offence’ occured.
So Jack, you were doing 85 mph as well? I’m not getting at you, I regularly travel in excess of 100 mph on the m74, m5, and m6 top end. The speed limit in this country is way to low, better driver training and up the speed limit. I drive all over the world and only in india are the drivers as s***e as the drivers in the UK.
This change in legislation is long overdue. I regularly drive on the M25 and lanes are often closed to protect vehicles that have collided or broken down. It is essential that drivers are forced to take notice of road safety signs for closed lanes as there are too many dangerous idiots on the road who should no longer have a licence. Hurting their pockets and potentially staining their licences (possibility of a ban) is the only way dangerous idiots will take notice. Never mind the fact that Highways England will substantially increase their revenue, road safety is of paramount importance.
Approaching my turnoff junction quite late in darkness signs appear which say two inside lanes red crossed so I immediately go into outside lane. Do I assume my junction is closed or do I carry on driving in the lane marked red cross? As I got nearer I was able to put on full beam and saw that I could use junction although I had to reenter red crossed lanes. And if a camera had filmed me driving in red cross lane how could I prove innocence? The works taking place were way up beyond my turnoff junction.
I guess you just cut across the two closed lanes at the exit and hope no one’s ignoring the X’s.
Have you been done for this??
The point made in the article is very true – there are so many occasions when speed limits are changed, or lanes closed FOR NO DISCERNABLE REASON AT ALL. There needs to be a penalty applied to controllers of motorway signs for either failing to cancel signs that are no longer appropriate, or for doing test closures for no reason at all.
The controllers are probably on commission. Most of the motorway ANPRs are used as revenue-earners.
I am delighted that this is now recognised as a problem. I believe that the majority of drivers who ignore the red cross are selfish and impatient – they just make the delay longer for the law abiding drivers.
This is long overdue and will prevent selfish and irresponsible drivers pushing in at the front of the queue.
I do a lot of motorway driving, on the M3, M25, and M20, and where I see hazard warnings and lane closures on these motorways that have so-called ‘smart’ features, my research so far indicates that 50% of them have no hazard. This indicates that they are either being misused or mismanaged, and there is a huge credibility problem. yes I do believe this is a revenue generator, like many other things relating to cars as car drivers are low hanging fruit easy to pick for more money. It is interesting that the mention of ‘incidents’ are not in any way related to the number of hazard warnings, the number of miles covered by these, and the duration of them, as there is probably x incidents per hour per motorway anyway with normal driving.
The number of times these overhead signs display errorneous or out-of-date information, so totally inappropriate, is saddening, yet we are to suffer for their errors? Who pays these people – WE DO!! So, who should these people SERVE – US, not the government’s bank account!!
Smart motorways are meant to be a service, not a judge & jury. And we wonder what’s wrong with this country!!
I just love the distracting propaganda these displays are used for:
Speed Kills (no, smacking hard objects at speed kills – Lewis Hamilton is alive and well).
Tiredness Kills – Take a Break.
Pedestrians on Carriageway (usually left on for several days).
I suspect reading these things causes accidents, rather than prevent them.
Wholeheartedly agree with this! £100 and 3 points is not enough though! Naughty boy/girl courses for a momentary lapse and exceeding a speed limit, yet deliberately going through a “Lane closed” should be a much stiffer penalty and surely a compulsory course to educate people would be a much better solution?
What about motorway exits? My rules are be in the required lane before the ½mile marker, yet constantly get bullied by other vehicles getting in with yards to spare – why are drivers so irresponsible thinking themselves better/more important to not need to queue – how about having these cameras on the gantries watching for this deliberate behaviour. If everyone was in the lane by the ½ mile marker, there’d be a much smoother exit, safer and of course fairer. Again if people choose to late exit, then a stiff penalty and a training course for abusing this, perhaps people would become nicer and better drivers.
The answer to that one is to have bollards near the junctions that can’t be crossed. It’s one thing that gets my goat too.. Same with joining a motorway and having cars just pull right out across all lanes to get to the overtaking lane and sit there. Had a car nearly go into my side because he wasn’t watching what other drivers were doing. Nearly gave the wife a heart attack!
Smart technology is assumed to bring us benefits but in fact it is the opposite as there is no benefit for us in being constantly monitored with automatic fines & points issued for every indiscretion.
Non of it is about road safety, it’s ALL about generating more revenue from the general public, who already give enough. These “smart” motorways are a danger, with unpredictable speed changes for no reason at all, and that isn’t speculation, it’s observation. I’ve driven down these motorways and gone from 70 to 40 to 50 and back to 70 in the space of a few miles, at 3am with not a car on road. It isn’t such a problem at that time, because the unpredictable behaviour it causes doesn’t affect other people at that time, but it happens all day, and there, very rarely, seems to be any kind of reason for it, other than money.
I’ve always taken the view that the higher a proportion of the revenue take that is paid by those who break the rules, the less likely it is that forms of tax that the law-abiding among us have no option but to pay will be increased.
Why are the knob Ed’s wasting money on the HS2 b***ocks, why not build motorways like in America, with a section over the existing road, the motorways are there, just needs jacking up in the air, yes ok, a bit of thought is going to be needed for the junctions, but there’s enough hot air in the upper ranks to sort it out.
Sudden appearance of Red X on M. Ways are causing some driver a brake hard & change to another lane in a hurry. Those causing other traffic to brake to avoid collision.
It’s welcome. We recently had a trip to Derby and the amount of fools on the road is incredible. This band of lawless drivers is far larger than 1 in 10. We constantly witnessed high speed, bumper to bumper tailgating and there was an incident on one particular road, the overhead signs were telling drivers to slow down to 60, then 40,but quite a lot just ignored the instructions (until they arrived at stationary traffic). Also, on quite a few occasions, I would be overtaking cars at the speed limit (70) and drivers were on my bumper bullying me to go faster. I witnessed some making signs at me, obviously unhappy that I wasn’t breaking the speed limit. It’s a malaise.
Its the ‘selfish’, ‘entitled’ (‘Low self-esteem’) ‘self assessed’ racing drivers that on a ‘full’ motorway, fly down the outside overtaking lane at 80+, then force their way into traffic and ‘slam on’ to get off at the next junction, that’s dangerous driving, that causes a lot of problems. If you ‘Fined’ these persons ‘of questionable parentage’ repeatedly, many accidents would be avoided and stress levels of other motorists would reduce. A camera isn’t going to sort out bad driving! Where’s a Traffic Officer when you need one ? Lane confusion on ‘Smart’ Motorways doesn’t help?
So What is a live lane as quotred above ? ? one that is live and usable ? or one that has a live blockage on it and one must not use it ? Again terminologe not very clear ?
“2nd issue how much grace / time is one given to move out of the Red crossed lane especially in Fog with traffic in both lane either side of you . — or is it the next red cross and camera that clocks you ? ?
Agreed – the rules seem to very unclear on this. I would like to see some sort of advance warning (say amber crosses) before the red cross, at which point driving in that lane is illegal. Also, more information about what to do if the exit you want is within the red zone but before the incident – is is acceptable to use the lane(s) to access the exit?
Read your copy of the highway code. The Red Cross is preceded by amber arrows pointing down-right or down-left, indicating which way you should shift to get out of the upcoming dead lane.
I got a penalty notice for the above offence last week, I was caught on the 6th of June not sure what to do really
Pay it like everyone else has to, simple.
Ask for the picture, I did this an never heard back, I came on junction 5 m6, with intention of going off junction 6 m42, sign said hardsholder for m42 only so I stayed on the slip an crossed under the camera gantry, at 35 mph in my fully loaded 44 tonner, on to the hard shoulder an came off at m42. They said I’d drove on the shoulder from junction 4, not possible as there in no shoulder there. Thieving b@#$tareds is all o can say.
Blocking up these closed lanes also causes severe problems for the emergency services who could be trying to get to seriously injured motorists.
There is no excuse for driving in these lanes, plenty of notice is given with lane divert arrows well before the red X
Yes I agree to a point.
No problem with the cameras, just the whole concept of ‘smart’ motorways. Highways statement “reduce the gap between ERAs to every mile, ‘where practical’,” means nothing will happen and really solves nothing Unless you’re just approaching a refuge you’ll have little option but to stop on the running lane and hope the camera-watchers are paying attention.
I would obey gantry signs if they were correct. Just driven down the A1 from Peterborough with speed restrictions on gantry …… nothing in sight not even a car braking ahead
The question is: How long after spotting a Red X do you have to change lanes? Will you be fined and get points as you pass the first gantry displaying them? If so, this could cause dangerous, last minute lane changing. Additionally, why does every offence attract at least three points? Is there an argument for reducing some “Smart Motorway” offences to one or two points?
‘Smart Motorways’ where there is no hard shoulder for emergencies are fatalities waiting to happen simply because the government won’t spend enough money to properly upgrade the road system. Until there is a headline grabbing horrible accident on a ‘Smart Motorway’ because there is no hard shoulder, the powers that be will continue to try and persuade us that this is the way forward
We didn’t need to add more lanes in my opinion. What we do need is proper lane discipline, or the right to SAFELY overtake either side. As a daily M25 user I am astounded by the number of vehicles in lane 3 or 4 (or even 5!!) doing less than the speed limit when inside lanes are nearly or sometimes totally clear.
Sure this doesn’t happen at peak times but that is down to poor design with junctions poorly spaced generating cross traffic or bottlenecks due to reduced lanes in the main.
If The Highways were to maintain our motorways and spent more money keeping our motorways free potholes?.
Not all drivers have endless bank accounts as it appears that we are just Big Targets.
This is open to abuse to another cash cow.
I completely agree with this new legislation to fine drivers for ignoring RED X CLOSED LANE signs. Frankly they are a menace are dangerous potentially and most often are “queue hoppers. This is one piece of legislation I am very much in favour of and I hope it is rigorously applied.
Perhaps there’s a good reason our motorways were the safest, most motorways in Europe have never had a full width hard shoulder.
As for lay-by’s they should be at least every half a mile & only more if it’s impossible, it’s a safety issue not a nicety. If a lorry uses one that’d still be a full mile between them !!
Well all pulled across at end of M27 couple weeks ago, even German cars in good time, up the hill &round slight bend, all gone round completely clear!
Smart motorways are NOT smart, they’re downright dangerous. The AA have called for refuges every mile, that should be every 100 yards. If cars are inconsiderate enough to break down on a motorway, they certainly won’t be considerate enough to break down right outside of a refuge that’s one mile from the last one, and before anyone starts taking me to task about the “safety statistics” regarding smart motorways, let me tell you what happened to me 4 years ago. I had a complete & immediate electrical failure on the M6 in the dark in the early evening with no overhead lighting. I pulled over as far as I could with my left wheels on the grass verge, the problem was that it was in the middle of roadworks where the hard shoulder was being used as the inside lane. The motorway was busy, lorries couldn’t get past me without going into the next lane, which meant they had to stop until someone let them filter out, people behind them couldn’t see why they’d come to such an abrupt halt because I had no lights on my car & they were obviously too far back to see me. I called 999 & after about 30 minutes of abject terror I was rescued. I couldn’t slide over to get out of the car on the nearside & it took about 5 minutes before I could get out of the driver’s door because it was so busy & I can tell you that I’ve never been so frightened in my whole life, & I’m a grisly 72 year old who doesn’t frighten that easily. Now had it happened on a smart motorway, I realise that after I’d ‘phoned, the hard shoulder would have been closed off, but there still would have been traffic running in that lane between the overhead gantry & me. OK, there was a 50mph roadworks speed limit, but until you’ve been in the position that I was in, with cars having to try & get past my car with inches to spare & 44 ton lorries having to slam on their brakes at 50mph to avoid me, nobody in their right mind would even consider this lunatic idea. I got away with it, but only just. It could so easily have ended in carnage with many dead or injured. If I ever travel on smart motorways now, I NEVER use the hard shoulder to travel on, neither do I use the inside hard shoulder lane when there are two lanes in roadworks with a 50mph speed limit. I set the cruise at 50mph & stay in the outside lane of the two, I only move over if someone is stupid enough to be exceeding the limit in the middle of the roadworks & coming up behind me, if they want to pick up a speeding ticket, I’m not going to stop them. Having had the experience that I had, I won’t compromise my safety for ANYONE. Smart motorways? TOTAL MADNESS.
It’s not rocket science. If there is a big red ‘X’ over a carriageway, don’t use it! If you didn’t see the warning, you are not paying attention and are potentially committing a traffic offence. Pay up and look big – or better, PAY ATTENTION!
Nobody pays enough tax for the environmental damage their motoring costs. Too many cars with just 1 person in them. Use smart technology to automatically levy an additional tax on single occupants of cars. If you don’t have any friends – get on the bus.
Ewen, go hug a tree.
this increased instructions from highways england is all well and good its the way they implement these things what about all the people who live in rural areas and only see these signs very frequently highways england need to go on management courses to learn how to educate drivers they themselves have a lot to learn they altered a roundabout on the a483/a5 called the mile end roundabout and the three lanes around the roundabout dont allow long hgv vehicles enough space to maneuver safely
I welcome these measures as too many times I have been patiently waiting in queuing traffic whilst I seen over drivers who think they have priority over everyone else by using close lanes to queue jump.
However I have also seen on motorways whereby the have reduce the speed limit because of an obstruction/incident ahead only to see no sign of such thing.
I grow tired of reading bleating motorists who perpetually feel sorry for themselves. To be able to drive anywhere is a concession and is not as of right, even though we may think otherwise because of the horrendous burden of the ever increasing punitive cost impositions for using a motor vehicle. Just to suit one’s own perceived self importance, one cannot pick and choose which traffic regulations, or any other laws for that matter, suit just one’s self. One may personally not agree with some of the rules but that does not absolve one from obeying them, no matter how crass and restrictively inconvenient a regulation may be thought of as being. Otherwise, anarchy reigns. But that does not prevent one from starting a campaign for change and from inviting others to support one’s views.
With this particular issue, however, the only notional mitigation can be if one gets caught out and cannot change lanes soon enough, but even then the warnings are usually well in advance and to be caught out means one is not observing and thinking sufficiently far ahead. As a frequent user of the M62 ‘smart’ section in West Yorks. the only issue I have is that sometimes an element of the overhead gantry indicators will be obviously faulty and that incurs potential doubt. But don’t just assume one can then blaze away with all guns firing. Err on the common sense side of caution, aiming always to be safe as well as ‘legal’.
As for managed speed limits, use cruise control if you have one. My experience is that as most people will be driving at the indicated limit, cruise control works admirably and certainly avoids being photographed for posterity for accidentally drifting over the prescribed limit.
Contrary to the persistently promoted ideas by obsessive automotive industry ‘hidden persuaders’ and which they would have us emotionally accept, driving is not a ‘sport’. Its mostly a drudgery, a potentially dangerous one at that and one’s survival is dependent upon one using ones wits and common sense and, above all, a big portion of common courtesy, which is all to commonly thin on the ground, not just with motorists, but in almost every walk of life now.
Think that it’s another revenue generator if it’s an immediate fine not allowing time for drivers to safely move into an open lane.
I have never been in favour of smart motorways. All it takes is a puncture or blow out
and where do you go.. Not a safe option. I believe they are a retrograde step and a cheaper option that put our lives at risk.
Their “plan” starts to come together, anpr giving out fines left right and centre!
People don’t obey temp speed limits because they are not turned off when the hazard has been cleared! I regularly slow down to 40 or 50 only to have lorries and cars come zooming up behind me because they know that the temp speed limit IIS no longer needed. We need a telephone number to report temp speed limits left on for no reason.
Logic tells me the appropriate way that everyone could understand is after a Red X the next sign displays the “Move Over Arrow” with the word NOW!
Wouldn’t mind if they were accurate and up to date. I don’t use them much,yet, but every time , there are speed reductions for a peril that doesn’t seem to exist or is old news. There was 50 mph for reports of pedestrians on the motorway for twenty miles. How long does it take a pedestrian to cover twenty miles? Before smart motorways the warning signs were rubbish and I think they forgot to switch them off, as warnings of incidents were up all day and there weren’t any. They should up their game and make these controls meaningful, you don’t want to be complying with these signs when they are obviously wrong. Another thing they must know, is that a 40 mph limit means that the traffic becomes stop-crawl. So they’ve only got a 50-60 window to use in reality!
It’s a money making racket that is totally unsafe! Having an “emergency refuge” that’s nothing more than a layby at huge intervals and no hard shoulder for emergency vehicles is really, really dangerous.
A couple of points:
1) temporary speed limits are used (particularly on M25) to regulate congestion. It supposedly smooths out bunching.
2) the ‘Smart’ designation is far from appropriate! In particular as warning signs apply to designated roadworks, particularly at night. There seems to be minimal communications between the message board controllers and the road contractors. This results in common occurrences of either signed closed lanes with no reason or blocked lanes (or even complete motorways) with no warning. I was amazed to learn (after an email conversation with the authorities) that the contractor is not ‘controlled’ by the motorway control room, and the warning sign was only turned on AFTER the contractor had reported that he had ALREADY closed the road! This resulted in me making an enforced 30 mile diversion, and this happened 3 times for me! If you commute on motorways around 22.00 in the evening, it is like living in a parallel universe! There is minimal warning of night-time roadworks from either the media or the navigation apps. In my case I could easily re-route IF ONLY given sufficient warning. Sorry – rant over!
Went early along the A14 to get through the road closure starting 2000hrs but already closed. Must have been closed all weekend?
The government should have had a lot more foresight when building the motorways in the first place even from the sixties. Now it’s insanely expensive to widen motorways. ALR is suicide and will result in fatalities as has already happened with hard shoulders.
An interim AMBER cross might help advise motorists in more time to take evasive action