Smart motorways were originally sold to motorists as a more efficient way to use the roads. Their innovative technology and time saving insights were going to free up traffic flow and reduce air pollution. Apparently.
However, could it be that they are really just another means of raising revenue through driving fines?
The red X
There will soon be a £100 fine for anyone caught driving in a lane marked with a red X. The red X is used predominantly to indicate when the hard shoulder has been closed. Not only will defying the red X now garner drivers a £100 fine, it will also incur penalty points on their licence.
The fine announcement follows Highways England sending out 50,000 warning letters to drivers who had been caught using smart motorways wrongly. A third of those letters related to drivers who had driven in a lane with a red X displayed above it. If all those drivers had received fines, instead of just warning letters, a cool £1.6 million would have been raised. Clearly, someone in charge has been doing some sums.
The RAC agrees that handing out these fines is the right thing to do. The organisation hopes that the implementation of the fine will deter people from driving in closed lanes, which is often dangerous due to a hazard.
Seeing motorists using these closed lanes also makes other drivers frustrated, which can be dangerous in itself. This is especially true when people are intentionally using the closed lane until the last minute so that they can then cut in and get ahead of other road users.
(Credit – Bill Boaden)
The red X that indicates the closed lane is very clear. However, in the cases of other transgressions, it may be lack of education about smart motorways that is causing motorists to make errors. Many don’t realise they are doing anything wrong.
The Department for Transport is expected to release plans for the new smart motorway fees shortly. In the meantime, it has been suggested that drivers be given more information about how to use smart motorways in the correct way. This would mean fewer drivers ending up with unexpected fines.
Not only would this help people to avoid fines, but it would also make smart motorways safer to use. At present it seems that many drivers are unaware of the risks involved with not using them properly.
For example, many people are unsure of what they would do if their car was to break down at a point when there is no hard shoulder to pull onto. Without this knowledge, there’s much greater scope for a breakdown to result in a nasty accident.
(In case you were wondering, there are emergency bays spaced along smart motorways at regular intervals. These can be used in the event of a problem. Meanwhile, you are advised to always check your tyres, oil, fuel and water before making a journey, to reduce the risk of a breakdown.)
With so many drivers being unaware of exactly how they should be using a smart motorway, it could be said that it really isn’t fair to impose fines on people until they have been given far more education about the new way of using these particular roads.
The lack of effort in terms of educating drivers certainly points to an intention to use smart motorways for revenue generation. The move will add to the pressure on drivers already struggling with rising motoring costs. Clearly, using smart motorways incorrectly can result in dangerous situations. However, does that make it right to prioritise fining transgressors before sufficiently educating them?
A cynic might presume that information is being withheld in order to catch people out when they are unsure of how to drive on these new roads. Perhaps our smart motorways are simply offering a smart new way to make more money from the UK’s beleaguered car owners.
With this in mind, Highways England has been asked to provide motorists with a better education about smart motorways. Drivers need to know what they do, how they should be used, and what the different signs mean. They also need to know what not to do, so that they can avoid being fined!
Are you confident that you understand all the rules and regulations relating to smart motorways or will you be one of those who could be in line for a fine due to lack of knowledge? Let us know your views by leaving a comment.
If you cant work out for yourself that a red x means lane closed, youshould not have a driving licence.
You fit seatbelts in a car based on the stistical inevitably that a crash will occur,not on what should happen
I think those who love smart motorways need to try the m4 west bound 23 to 28 any hour of daylight. Permanent 40 and ass holes in the left lane that becomes the j25 slip parked waiting to enter lane 2 having used lane 1 to undertake three miles of stopped traffic.
My concern about smart motorways with all lanes running is what happens in an emergency e.g. a puncture. Yes there are emergency bays but what you need to do is to get on the hard shoulder out of harm’s way as quickly as possible without shredding the tyre and ruining your alloys. Even worse if towing a caravan that has a puncture. Not only would the plastic wheel arch disintegrate but it could take out the floor of the caravan. A lorry that loses its air brakes would have to drag its trailer along etc etc. The hard shoulder was for emergencies!
A puncture at 70mph will shred your tyre (has happened to me twice – which is why I had a spare tyre at home for a car that doesn’t have one). You put your hazards on immediately, use the hard shoulder and get into the refuge. How many people can put their hazards on without searching for the button? If you can’t, why not?
I’ve also managed to get into the hard shoulder when my toughened (ie not laminated) windscreen shattered at 70mph. I did insist on recovery the breakdown company thought I could still drive it!
I don’t have an issue with smart motorways. I would suggest however, that the national speed limit should always be displayed. The reason being many drivers exceed the speed limit assuming the system is not operational. This will not. Only act asa reminder but a deterrent for some not to exceed the speed limit.
In my opinion, as a driver on motorways since they were first built, so called ‘smart motorways’ are exceedingly dumb, dangerous and stupid. Whilst I recognise their intent of relieving congestion, it is a cheapjack solution, leaving the unfortunate motorist who has had the misfortune to break down in a very dangerous and exposed position, especially if they are unable to reach a safety zone. The hardshoulder was not safe at the best of times; to deliberately run large lorries down it is inviting slaughter.
Absolutely right Mark …. I never use the new lane 1 whatever speed I am doing and am very wary of the new lane 2 as well if I do not have good vision ahead because that is the lane that those in lane 1 will swerve into if they encounter a sudden blockage.
There have already been deaths and serious injuries as a direct result of this madness, though they are not publicized of course.
Advice to all NEVER use the new lane 1 on the new ” death trap ” motorways.
You shouldn’t be allowed to drive on motorways then.
If Driver A is driving correctly in in lane 1 some idiot will move in from lane 2 into Driver A’s safe distance and then Driver A has to drop back in order to preserve the safe distance. No wonder Driver A is reluctant to use the left lanes, he/she would never get to the destination.
Then driver A needs to chill. so what’s the difference between adding five minutes to your journey as long as traffic is flowing and doing it safely. You’re an adult.. deal with it for God’s sake.
Such a rude man…. read my earlier comment.
Perhaps you should get a copy of the highway code and read the rule that states you should drive in the lefrmost lane unless overtaking. Having just put up with 2 years of chaos converting a stretch of motorway to Smart, I find it very frustrating that a large proportion of drivers are still only using the right most 2 lanes and leaving the left lanes empty. Why spend all that money if no-one is going to use those lanes???.
There have always been deaths and injuries on the motorways, quite often people on the hard shoulder and these bays actually take them out of the ‘line of fire’ of drivers not fully concentrating and drifting onto the old hard shoulder.
I agree that the left lane is the correct driving lane BUT if I am on a smart m/way I will not trust the left lane as I feel the chance of hitting a brokendown vehicle is greatly increased also if you use the safe refuge then how are you to get to a safe speed to rejoin the traffic flow as they are so small,also if It is not safe to stop on the present hard shoulder then what chance do you have to avoid an accident if you breakdown in the left lane of a smart m/way.These smart m ways are a disaster waiting to happen.
Unfortunately the design of smart motorways has created bad driving habits – smart motorways are not ‘smart’ they have just extended entrance slip roads to merge with the exit slip road at the next junction. Drivers will not rely on this lane one as they will have to move out to the second lane just to get past the next junction so they then stay out in lane 2 !!
Smart motorways also just create chicanes at junctions, back to the original motorway lanes before they spent all the money
Chairman of the Centre Lane Owner’s Club??
They are only dangerous if you have the idiots speeding on the road and not sitting at the speed limit with the appropriate safety gap between them and the car in front. If they did then their would not be as many accidents ( serious or not ) on the roads. And let’s face it it not just the smart motorways that these things happen on is it. These accidents happen on dual-carriageways as well but people that moan about the smart motorways must just want to speed all the time and possibly cause the accidents but are very rarely if ever actually involved in them.
It may be just me I live in Bedfordshire and use the M1. It seems they have all lanes open during the day but when rush hour arrives shut down the hard shoulder, opposite of being smart, I could go on and on about the state of our roads but I will leave it there
And every day they set the speed limits to ‘avoid congestion ‘nasty and usually there is nothing there, AND at the second times everyday, AND yes, they close the hard shoulder at the busiest times. North and south bound it is the same – evidently they are on a timer, as there will never be the same problem every day.
They also do it on a Saturday around 1.30 with no visible problems.
Definitely agree that we need education on the use, perils and pitfalls here. I’ve also seen new breeds of yellow “safety cameras” on the gantries, top left, that look like they can track all 3 lanes from the one camera – great for fundraising from the unwary.
Unwary???surely you spelt ‘stupid or ignorant’ wrong.
These new smart motorways they were built to free up traffic when in fact they are causing congestions with the stupid 40mph limit and 30 in some places. They shoukd just lift the speed restrictuon and you will notice a more stable flow of traffic on british motorways
Smart motorways work very well on the M25, in my experience. The M42 is a different story. The speed limit seems to be lowered there for no reason most of the time.
It’s an automated system that calculates traffic volume and speed and decides if the signals need to be set. They can be overridden if required.
In my experience the M25 is an automated disaster. Miles and miles of senselessly low limits that do indeed “cry Wolf” as someone else wrote, plus random statements like “Fog” on a crystal clear evening – or after you’ve been driving in fog for 30 minutes already. The programming of the sensors and software seems to be the problem.
Entirely right: people seem to confuse high traffic density with high traffic throughput. The latter is what motorways were built for, and slowing everyone down just increases the former.
It really doesn’t help when those in charge of traffic signals close lanes miles and miles before any hazard. You end up initially avoiding the “X” lane, drive for a long time, wonder what the problem is/was and then ignore the “X”!
Having just attended a “ speed awareness” course, I was amazed at how much I didn’t know about motorways. Not being a frequent user I have never noticed the emergency bays. There is certainly an argument for an excercise in education, for those that choose to partake, to enable us all to avoid unwelcome and undeserved fines. Although I would agree that a large Red Cross is not a difficult one.
I’ve never heard of smart motorways before. So it would seem more education/information is needed.
Bless me!! Where have you been, Sue ?
Driving around Northumberland and the Borders I have heard of them but never seen one.
Are they as confusing as everyone makes them out to be?
M6 last night very, very light traffic – a mile up to the next vehicle sometimes – then a new game started suddenly – the “story board” message read “Report of Obstruction” and the recommended speed sign showed 50… this was repeated for four or five miles with cars flying pas at 80-ish. Then the speed signs changed to red ones with same “Report of Obstruction” message. As we got into the controlled speed limit area the red speed sign showed over all three (virtually empty) lanes. Still cars flew by at around 80!
Ten miles (at least) later the overhead speed sign changed to the circular “road clear” symbol.
– If there ever was an obstruction at least one the cars that flew by at over 80 would have hit it.
– I don’t believe there was anything there. Ever. Being cynical, I suspect a test was in progress.
This is almost as bad as the flashing up and down spotlights of thirty years ago – drivers take these “crying wolf” warnings with a large pinch of salt and most regard the law as the proverbial ass.
What a very Smart motorway!
I have never been on a smart motorway,we don’t even have normal ones in Cornwall!!!
So now you’ve identified your learning need, I trust you’ve taken the opportunity to enlighten yourself using the various online resources available to you.
…try an IAM Roadsmart course!
I freely admit to not knowing all the new rules of smart motorways, though working out the meaning of a big red X isn’t difficult! What happens if you break down BETWEEN safety gaps? Do the DofT provide skyhooks to keep one safe? Thought not! Seriously there is much more education needed for those of us who have left the urban sprawl of the M25 et al and moved to a rural area where there are NO motorways!
Get as far on the verge as possible, otherwise as close to the end of lane 1. Hazard lights on and exit the car from the passenger (left) side.
No nothing a pit these smart motorways but I always make sure i am not in a lane when a Red Cross is above
Quite right Ian. I am a Traffic Officer and often have to attend vehicles that are stranded in that lane. The lane is closed with a red X because I’m THERE! I have had cars come right up to m and almost take me out because some BOZO has IGNORED a signal that he thinks doesn’t apply to him because he’s special.. he doesn’t NEED to obey the road signs.
Well I’ve got news for those that do that they will be automatically fined with points on their licence for putting MY LIFE in danger!
Sounds like some of the idiots I have come across while working on contract for Highways England. Muppet came driving down the hard shoulder on the managed motorway section of the M4 near Bristol, sign for Hard Shoulder closed on. Got back into lane one on seeing me with a camera pointed at him. I bet he was wetting his pants for the next two weeks to see if the NIP was in the past. Evidence got passed to the local police along with my statement.
And here’s the arrogant Mr McAlpine again with his offensive manner of trying to “educate” the public.
Put a sock in it my friend. If you are a Traffic Officer, you are a Public SERVANT. This means you SERVE the public – you don’t dictate to them! They pay your wages – give them some respect.
And if you don’t like the job you’re doing, or are afraid that your life is in danger, then do everybody a favour, and quit !!
If you want the traffic to run quickly slow down and keep your distance. It’s the fools that tail gate and switch lanes that course the hold ups. If we all did that one simple thing we would not need to spend billions on smart motaways in the first place. But unforchanetly their is always a fool out there and they are not always the young but people that should know better.. Take care watch your speed use your brain don’t lose it.
Not a good speller though..
You may be a ‘good driver but a terrible speller. It’s ’cause’, not ‘course’ & ‘unfortunately’, not ‘unforchanetly’….
Use your brain too fella.
It’s NOT switching lanes that causes congestion: drivers sat behind the car in front, slowing down and speeding up to match it rather than using the clear lane on their outside to pass.
I’m sick to death, when I’m sticking to a constant speed (as everyone should when possible), of getting blocked in the inside lane by some idiot in the middle lane who starts to overtake me and then backs off because the car in front of them has slowed down, rather than moving over to the outside and overtaking.
You need super smart motorways to cancel out dumb drivers. Good luck with the education!
Also the signs are in danger of crying wolf. Most of the ‘report of obstruction/incident etc’ type warnings go one for several miles before petering out without there being an obstruction/incident etc. Credibility is diminished so that the flow of traffic generally treats the slow down warnings with a pinch of salt.
Because you can’t see the obstruction/incident etc, does not mean it was not there, and because of the use of the “smart” limits, it is all cleared up safely before you reach where the obstruction/incident etc was.
All because you did not see it, you think there was nothing there? Unless you have bionic eyes to see from one to several miles ahead, I suggest you just accept that things are working well, and saving you an even bigger inconvenience.
Does that make sense, or are you correct and the system is wrong?
I drove from London to Bristol on the M4 last year and every sign had oncoming vehicle displayed. Never saw it. Until the controller reacts swiftly and manages the signs correctly drivers will continue to ignore them.
Try the M11 at midnight, any number of times there will be a red X and a 50 limit for miles. You’ll be one of three cars on the road and as has been said at the end of it it’ll peter out with nothing there. No signs of recovery vehicles. You’ll then drive for a number of miles till the next junction and never catch up with a rcovovery vehicle as it had probably left two hours before and the signs not turned off! This happens repeatedly and, as was said, lose all credibility.
Write to Highways England and complain – send a reasoned complaint and they will give a reasoned reply.
The frustration caused by low speed limits for no apparent reason and then suddenly disappearing must be a factor in dangerous driving. It seems that a work experience child is deciding how to annoy motorists and causing holdup.
These are ‘SMART’ motorways, they have sensors in the road to monitor traffic conditions and adjust speed limits as appropriate, and automatically.
You are wrong. I questioned why the speed on the M1 between J35a and J28 was 60mph when there was very little traffic assuming the motorway was smart and could adjust speeds. The answer I got was that between 3pm and 6pm the motorway was set to 60mph to reduce pollution.
“Smart” motorways just seem an exceedingly dangerous way to cram more cars into a small space. How many people have been killed when the hard shoulder was a hard shoulder without legitimising driving in it. seems to me there will have to be a horrendous crash with many dead before anyone will consider the safety factor. If the Gov wanted to raise a lot of revenue from drivers then they would just have to start fining everyone who broke the speed limit. They would get way more revenue that way!
A voluntary tax? What a good idea!
“Richard” nailed it: It’s not rocket science, anyone who can’t interpret and follow the simple signs / instructions on smart motorways is too stupid to be driving. BUT the onus is also on the motorway controllers to be realistic and not set up speed restrictions and lane closures miles ahead of the cause. Or where drivers can’t see the reason for the restriction.
You have nailed it! Get some of these idiots who can’t read simple signs off the roads. Then there will be more room for those of us that can.
We have had almost daily accidents on the M62 round Rochdale since they narrowed the road to put in smart motorway. Almost every week somebody has to be airlifted to hospital! How many extra accidents have been caused over the last couple of years and how many has it stopped. There will be people killed by having no hard shoulder and a massive publicity campaign is needed to educate drivers.
Bring backey the hard shoulder … it’s what made motorways safer than normal duel carriageways
give over, the hard shoulder on the motorway is one of the most dangerous spots on a motorway. Bring back considerate drivers who leave sufficient room between them and the car in front, who keep to speed limits, who concentrate on controlling their car.
Keith, there is no such thing as an accident. There is ALWAYS someone to blame for an event that unfolds. Usually it’s motorists just driving too close to the car in front and probably speeding too. Tyres in poor condition is usually a good one too… poor shock absorbers…. bad brakes.. people falling asleep…
As a Traffic Officer I have seen many people after a smash with the old “oh noooo poor meeee” look on their face. I pulled a woman’s car out of a barrier after heavy rain the other evening. I asked her what speed she was doing when she hit the barrier. “70” was the response… not wanting to convict herself. I told her she wanted her head feeling for driving at that speed in that weather.
People really ought to remember 3 things:-
1. Keep a good distance from yourself and the car in front, allowing more room to brake in poor weather conditions. If somebody gets in to the space between you n the car in front, what of it?.. just ease off the gas and create a good distance between you two.
2. Drive to the conditions you find yourself in, not what the speed limit is.
3. 70 mph on the motorway and on dual carriageways is a LIMIT and not a TARGET. And the same goes for other speed limits o other roads… they are LIMITS….. not TARGETS.
And not driving near/at the speed limit of any road would ensure you fail, if you were under test at the time!!
Phil, If you were on test, you would not be expected to drive up to whatever the speed limit if it were not safe to do so. Sadly motorists see speed limits as a permissible target, at the expense of prevailing conditions. (rtd Police/ADI)
Not wishing to disagree, but from obesrvation I would suggest a main reason for motorway and dual carriageway accidents is poor lane discipline. It used to be the law in Germany to drive as far to the outside lane as possible, but I understand that in the UK the Highway Code is just a code, not a law, and there is no legally-enforcible standard to drive in the left-most available lane; or am I wrong? Using the M25 as an example, you frequently have drivers in the middle 2 of 4 unoccupied lanes, with nothing to their left, forcing overtaking drivers into the right hand lanes and effectively turning a very expensive 4 lane road into 2 or 3 lanes.
The Highway Code consists of many SHOULD NOTS very few MUST NOTS in this day and age with the number of drivers using the roads many more SHOULD NOTS should now become MUST NOTS including All Parking rules which today nobody gives a Damn about
Once again Paul McAlpine shows his arrogant face! Are you really a Traffic Officer – as in a Traffic Policeman? If you are then you really need to go back to basics and take a course in PR. The way to get cooperation from people is not to slag them off, but to discuss logically and calmly the facts of a situation; and if there is something you feel they can learn from a situation, explain it to them gently and diplomatically – not tell them they “need their head feeling”. If you did attempt that you would be in danger of being in court yourself – for assault! And in the case of a woman this could even be extended to rape!
I agree with all of this from Paul McAlpine. In the M25 western stretch AM, or any busy motorway, there no longer is a “fast lane”. The prime directive is STAY IN YOUR CHOSEN LANE, and there is signage to remind you regularly not to change lanes (except when you have to to leave the motorway, of course). Sometimes one lane is faster, sometimes another – you can choose any in those circ’s; it makes no difference at all when everyone is doing 10 to 50mph range and all lanes are “full”. Those who hop from lane to lane are stealing other drivers’ reaction times. And those in the outermost lane who, if you are there too under those circumstances, and you’ve left the 2 second gap that you should, drive up your rear end and flash and hoot (often seems to be young men in BMWs who do this), are undoubtedly risking causing a collision by NOT obeying the two second rule. I do trust the motorway system in that, when it asks you to drive at 50 and it’s a SPECS zone so everyone does consistently do so, it seems to flow well. I am sure otherwise it would sometimes be stop-start. The continued flow reduces CO2 pollution and brake wear/emission of brake dust. I know people who go nuts about such speed restrictions; sometimes the signage is clearly manually controlled (remotely) and the obstruction has gone, but generally the restrictions are to our benefit. I am pretty sure no cameras on the M25 work by the way as I often when it is clear mid-day, see people scoot through at 80+, so often that it must be “known” that they don’t work.
I am sure most collisions are due to the tailgaters, or those who don’t leave the full 2 seconds even if not “tailgating”.
Advisory speed limits have no credibility because they are often turned on too far ahead, then left on, after the hazard has gone. Indeed it can be dangerous to reduce speed when other traffic is ignoring them.
Highways England has cameras to monitor traffic at all times, or are they still having a cup of tea?.
They should be turned off as soon as possible. Better still replace the silly speeds with a system of exclamation marks, the internationally accepted sign of danger ahead,
After 3 repeats of the same message, I no longer look at them.
I have just had to pay £91 to book a corse. I went through a 60 sign at 70. The problem is the sign came on as I was approaching and it was not safe to break as it was heavy traffic. Now I’m having to pay for slowing safety. By the next sign I was at 60
I was told that when those signs come on or change, you have a minute before the associated camera starts enforcing the limit. You should have appealed that.
When the overhead speed limit changes there is a delay before the cameras enforce the new limit. You are supposed to have slowed to the limit before you pass the gantry concerned.
Smart motorways have cameras which monitor the speed limit displays and you can request the photos of the time that tour vehicle was caught exceeding the posted speed limit
What they will tell you on the course (I know, I’ve been on one, guilty as charged) is that its a speed limit, not a speed target; remind you to concentrate; to plan and to anticipate – and who could argue with those? A good barrister might have got you off if there were photos of the heavy traffic and exact timings of the the illumination of the 60 sign and of your passing under the camera, but the whole system is stacked against you – you are now guilty until proven innocent.
Stephen, if that’s the case, why didn’t you present that argument to the court rather than elect to go on the course? If you are innocent, the Magistrate will find for you and the costs will be aid by the other side. That’s always the option in such cases… or are you secretly sure that you ARE to blame but just don’t want to admit it and because you want to have a whine about it here.
Mate, there is absolutely NO guarantee any Magistrate will ever find for you, even when you’re ‘innocent’! Unless you have irrefutable evidence to prove your case, you’re taking a chance with a steeper fine and points!!!
Sounds like you broke the law and tried to get away with it and failed. All drivers make mistakes but far too many think that they are above the law and do something that they think that they can get away with. Examples are illegal parking, driving under the influence, undertaking and sitting in the wrong lane. How many times have you bee frustrated by people like this or do you do it believing that you are entitled to as a far better driver?
Particularly as the magistrates court is the police court… and its behaviour is one of intimidation …..
The Magistrates Court is definitely NOT a Police court. I speak as both a retired police officer and a retired magistrate.
Well Ian, explain why a magistrate I worked with advised me not to take a wrongful ticket to court because 99 times out of 100 the magistrate will take the word of the police over the accused … You must 1 in a million … Err I mean 100 officer
When the speed limit changes to a lower limit, or the speed sign comes on for the first time, you get a one minute grace period where you’re “allowed” to travel at the previous, higher, speed. You can appeal if you think the camera wasn’t working correctly but you do risk a higher fine if your appeal is not successful.
…who says there’s a one minute period of grace? I don’t think you’ll find it in the Highway Code.
Correct – it’s in the guidelines for usage. The Highway Code states obey the speed limit
You will find it in the HOTA setup manual for the speed camera concerned, its dictated under Home Office Type Approval and would be verifiable in the evidence the police/cps would have to provide.
lol, you sir are the problem…. If you were doing 70, and saw the 60 sign, and you felt it was not safe to slow down 10mph, then you were obviously driving with out due care and attention. Too clse to the car in front and probably in the middle or outside lane. You sir are a Donk Splatt…
Donk Splatt, what is that please? I cannot find it in the dictionary.
In your surmising of what might or might not have been his situation, Why does driving to close to the car In front make it dangerous to slow down by 10mph? I’d take s look st who the donk splat might be now!
The cameras do not activate until 10s of seconds after the limit changes to avoid the scenario you just stated and generally the first sign of a new lower limit will not have an active camera to avoid you missing it and getting a ticket
It should be possible to build a delay into the recording of offences to allow for this. Motorists are paying for bad system design / operation
Are you talking about a speed sign which is on a gantry across the motorway with a speed limit for each lane such as is on the M25 over 4 lanes.
It seems on the M25 most people do not stick to the indicated speed limit and I assume they are regular users and so can’t be getting speed tickets on a daily basis?
In reply to Stephen who said “I have just had to pay £91 to book a corse. I went through a 60 sign at 70. The problem is the sign came on as I was approaching and it was not safe to break as it was heavy traffic. Now I’m having to pay for slowing safety. By the next sign I was at 60”
This is not possible because on smart motorways, the camera is not reset to the new speed until one minute after the speed limit changes on the sign. You must have been a mile away when the speed limit changed if the camera was activated to the new speed.
“One minute”, “two minutes” – who’s telling the truth here?
That’s rubbish, when the speed limit changes the sign flashes for a while (this site says 2mins https://www.speedcamerasuk.com/variable-speed-cameras.htm), that’s plenty of time to slow down, it would have been perfectly safe to BRAKE gently at least & I’ll bet you would’ve got your speed down in time.
C’mon you now that’s bull crap
The cameras don’t become active until 2 minutes gone pass from activating the speed limit
You just one of those ignoring everything and thinking you are in Nurburgring
On the M42 there is a two minute delay before the new limit is enforced
Absolute rubbish. Enforcement does not happen until 120 seconds after the sign changes. On a change Home Office Type Approval (HOTA) dictates that system must disable for a defined period of time and them re enable after this defined period of time.
The signs have a delay until the camera kicks in so you are likely to have already been through a 60 sign previously.
If it is not safe to brake then everyone is going too fast and too close. This is the time to hang back from the vehicle in front so you have more time to slow . Others may fill your space but what has it cost you? £91.00!!!
Come to think of it – the last time I got caught by a camera (46 in a 40) It cost me £103. How did you manage that??
yes it can be frustrating to be slowed too early but thats what keeps you moving without stopping, giving traffic ahead more time to clear before you catch up to it
But not 5 miles before the problem.
5 miles before YOU see the problem, maybe. Don’t forget, there can be other problems you just don’t know about and because it might not affect YOU, that’s all that matters….. yes?
5 miles at 70mph is less than 5 minutes and traffic jams generally grow (and clear) at 4mph. Which is why you have to slow down from so far back.
Which is a regular feature on the M25 – including 5 miles of slow, slower… slower, 3 lanes to 2 lanes to 1 lane… Oh, the workmen have packed up – even their traffic cones!!
That’s what wastes petrol and causes increased pollution! It also keeps more people for longer time on our overcrowded motorways. We need to increase traffic flows, not reduce them!
And slowing the traffic increases the number of vehicles per minute past a spot. Eventually this does not apply as the traffic is very close and moving too slowly. The tip over point is about 20mph.
Smart motorways dont have advisory speed limits they have mandatory speed limits policed by speed cameras. The traffic flow is monitored by computer and generally changes speed limits and opens and closes the hard shoulder to keep up the traffic count per hour. i.e reduce the speed limit to increase the flow as drivers then drive closer together, getting more vehicles into a given stretch, increase the limit as drivers then move further apart. Well that’s the theory anyway.
That’s the theory, and in my experience it works like a charm. Several years ago, driving north along the M6 through Birmingham at the same time as V-fest was kicking out, I encountered the expected traffic. In the smart motorway sections, the traffic speed slowed and slowed, but never went into that infernal stop-start pattern that you normally see.
North of Birmingham, outside the smart motorway zone, we were back to the old, frustrating, slow-stop-start cycle again.
Smart motorways do exactly what they are claimed to do, inside certain parameters.
As to speeding tickets, might I suggest that a speedcam warning device be a worthy and useful investment? The cameras for the smart motorway enforcement systems are static and are only very rarely, if ever, moved so a GPS-based warning system works very well on these.
As to being unable to brake due to being in heavy traffic, might I suggest that whoever said that starts looking further ahead, and actually tries moderate braking in such circumstances? I am fairly sure that the speed cameras are not set precisely to the stated speed limit at all (indeed the Home Office type specifications bluntly state this), but a few MPH below them so combined with the approx 10% over read built into car speedometers, you ought to be able to get the speed down below the camera trigger speed quite easily, plus other traffic generally takes the hint from a bright set of brake lights up in front of them.
“…reduce the speed limit to increase the flow as drivers then drive closer together”! So much for leaving more space between cars to reduce accidents! As for increasing the flow by reducing speed, you have never studied Physics at school or you would know that is nonsense!
What works for water in a pipe does not work for traffic. Have a look in the highway code at the safe spaces at different speeds and do a few calculations – maximum flow is normally round about 20mph.
Peter, what makes YOU the expert on where a sign should be set? Just because YOU can’t see a hazard on a road doesn’t mean there isn’t one there. So I disagree.. the signs are usually set exactly where they should be, or if a sign is out of commission, then the closest sign to the hazard can be set.
Very often, we have fluid spills making the road surface slippery or if there are unknown chemicals that have been spilled, those chemicals may dissolve your tyres.. and the signs set to PROTECT you. Now if YOU hit something or damaged YOUR tyres because you drive over something you hadn’t seen, you’d be moaning over that!….and then I suppose you’d sue us!
I’ll have you know that Highways England (HE) Control Operators work extremely hard at what they do. They are highly qualified and very often see disturbing things on those screens that the average person would look away from. they don’t. They carry on doing their job and doing it well….,having a cup of tea indeed. How would you like us to come to YOUR work and tell you how to sweep up?
They HAVE to remain on until the report of the hazard has been investigated by Traffic Officers. Once investigated, Traffic Officers radio the control room to give a “no trace” or if there is a problem they can often close the lane or carry out a rolling road block to retrieve whatever it is.
Now wind your neck in, stop blabbering and just obey the signals. It may save your life or the life of some poor unsuspecting Traffic Officer working in the live lane to assist a stranded motorist. We have already lost two Traffic Officers since the inception of the service because motorists drove like dick-heads and that’s two too many. Don’t add to the total.
I can accept much of what you say, but if you are representative of HE as you have hinted you are, your high handed manner of addressing a member of the public who is only expressing a point of view commonly held – rightly or wrongly – wins you no friends. There are much better ways of educating the public than telling them to wind their neck in and stop blabbering. This is not the kind of language I can accept from somebody who is meant to be serving the public. The attitude of “do as I tell you and don’t dare question it” may have existed in Germany around 1939-1945, but it is not appropriate today. The kind of inflammatory language you have used here will do nothing to educate the public – but it will certainly attract an attitude of conflict from many.
Peter does in fact have a point – I have many times been forced to drive at ridiculously low speeds on 70mph roads with low traffic volumes, because there are miles of cones with no sign of either work being done or workmen to do it – only to find at the end of the cones a polite sign telling me that the road is clear! That is frustrating, and understandably leads to the impression that Peter has voiced.
When it comes to Smart Motorway, no one has a switch to control the speed limit, its is worked out by gantry sensors and sensors buried i nthe road. They measure the speed and flow of traffic, also the most important part element of motorway traffic is the distance between cars. If everyone kept a safe distance (2-3 seconds no matter what speed your travelling at) then a lot of the congestion would just disappear. Hang back and watch the traffic flow better next time your on the motorway. REMEMBER, you will not get there any quicker than the car in front, so what is the point sitting on its bumper.
Totally agree Chris… as a 45K miles per year road user I find most if not all problems ( from congestion to collisions) on our motorways are caused by travelling WAY to close to the vehicle in front. I have witnessed and avoided numerous incidents by leaving a good few hundred yard gap…although at times other road users make this difficult.
Spot on Ian. You are dead right.
Yes, that and the huge numbers of people who live in the middle lane. One dare not undertake them, not just because it’s illegal, but they may just be asleep.
It’s not illegal to pass on the inside lane on the motorway.
How do you undertake them? The slow lane is usually full of HGVs.
Most of the accidents on the motorway are caused by lorry drivers who pull out without warning. The same lorry drivers cruise along for 5 miles alongside another lorry doing the same speed! This causes traffic to suddenly reduce speed and bunch up. Perfect recipe for mayhem!
Chris : ‘Hang back and watch the traffic flow’? Hang back and someone jumps into the gap!
Exactly! Motorised hokey-cokey! I have driven for long stretches of motorway subject to speed reductions. No accident, no hazard, no pollution control. The computers are clearly not doing their job and the jobsworths in the control centre are too busy drinking their coffee to worry about needless hold-ups on the motorways!
Get their number on dashcam and make a complaint because they caused you to have to change speed or direction (i.e. a carve up)
I always try to hang back instead of bumper chase, but some t**t always has to move into the space I create so I have to slow down even more to regain the space I had. this REALLY infuriates me. the smartest motorway in the world doesn’t make the drivers using it any smarter. it’s the drivers that always mess up, not the system.
I know its annoying, but if 20 people jump into your 2 second gap, that’s only 40 seconds lost. Just stay calm!
The red signs aren’t advisory and not reducing speed because no-one else is will not do as a defence. The signs are supposed to slow traffic before it hits a traffic jam. Ignore them and you’ll probably have to stop (and I’ve seen this happen far more times than I’ve seen the signs being wrong). If you find that there is no jam, that’s good it means it cleared in the time it took you to get there.
I understood that the speed limits etc were controlled by a person from watching the cameras. I had always assumed those persons to be astonishgly incompetent. Now it turns out that it’s actually the people who programmed the sensors(??)
At 0400 in the morning on the M1 with half a dozen cars and lorries over a 2 mile section of motorway? I don’t think so! Just poor use of the system. Instead of telling people how long it might take them to get a few more junctions down the motorway why not use the signs to instill in the idiots that seem to be allergic to the left hand lanes to move over and stop holding the rest of the traffic flow up?!!
If the motorways (or the control room operators) were smart, they would monitor speeds under gantries and only show the warning where the traffic was beginning to slow. I have stopped counting the number of times, I have seen 4 or 5 speed reductions followed by an all clear sign without passing any problem. Since I always drive at a speed and distance behind the vehicle in front that would enable me to stop, I treat the advisory speed signs as a need for extra vigilance.
Yes I also agree , sometimes speak to High ways agency at the time (While my wife is driving ) but just get fobbed off with silly excusses
The majority of the control is done via the signal capture in the road controlled by computer with human back up. And it’s not just traffic flow that causes the restrictions, there’s an element of air pollution control particularly near residential areas (Luton for example)
I did a specific smart motorway speed awareness course
When there not on the cars move fine you put them on and carnage how can that help pollution rubbish stop starting produces more pollution I pass through Luton everyday on m1 they are on when not needed left on I know the highways can override system I have been told by a hato that that is so there dangerous get rid of them
For God’s sake, learn to write English and to use punctuation. Your comment is unintelligible.
If you used some punctuation we might be able to understand what you are trying to say!
Advisory speed signs are not manually turned on as you suggest. The decision to set these signs is determined by loops in the road surface and the computer that monitors the traffic.
There seem to be a lot of drivers who dislike smart motorways, but my experience of them is that they keep traffic flowing rather than the annoying stop/start usually experienced because people ignore the advisory speed signs. I am against using speed cameras to generate revenue, but anything that makes my journey easier is welcomed. I use the M42 when I visit family, often there is heavy traffic but it almost never comes to a halt.
Observe the speed limit, get out of a lane that’s closing and everyone will make smoother progress. Easy.
I too use this motorway to visit family and found it a nightmare to drive on,we must be using it at different times to each other,last time took me 45mins to drive from j3 to j6 i use the term DRIVE advisadly.
research suggests that if people continue to use a closing lane up to near the point where it closes then it causes less congestion, pretty obvious really, you’re spreading the same number of cars over a larger space, it does of course annoy people when someone continues in a lane until it’s just about to close but that’s a different issue
The German system, and what they teach learner drivers, is to drive to the last possible bit of a closing lane, and then alternate filtering in. It’s called “Reissverschluss” (or similar) – meaning to close up like a zip. It works.
But then you couldn’t fine anybody:)
Yes I always try to work on the principle that you should let one in and if everyone did that then the traffic flow would be much faster. In practice I often have to make up for other people being selfish and let a couple in.
The RAC have recently been promoting the idea of zip merging on UK roads
Finally someone with common sense
I totally agree, as a professional driver if everyone let one in it would make my life so much easier!
Then again if you haven’t got enough lanes to cope with those who want to move out to let the traffic in to lane one (and that includes HGVs). you can’t move out and let people in since there is not enough road.
Fan of Disney are you?
Exactly! The Germans seldom come to a standstill because they use common sense. In he last 2 years I have done about 10,000 miles on the continent. I have seldom hsd to stop in roadworks which are common. Everyone one glides along at 50mph (very slow for an average German), without hassle dometines for half an hour. If everyone were to drive about 3 car lengths behind the car in front at the suggested speed merging traffic could do just that without inhibiting flow. British drivers have a real issue on motorways needing to be in front of someone else. This does nothing to improve our personal average speed which is what gets us there.
Biggest problem with that is there will always be one that thinks they’re special and rules don’t apply to them. Filter in Turn, is another example. Brilliant idea but would never work here. Its bad enough to get some people to stop at a red light and Zebra crossings.
It makes perfect sense. The trouble is, how many drivers drive sensibly. e.g. Inside lane empty for a mile while the middle and outside lanes are tail to tail. I wonder if anyone has ever been fined for ‘lane hogging’. I doubt it.
Middle Lane drivers should definitely be fined. They’ve reduced the motorway capacity by one third, costing us billions in building extra lanes, which will just sit empty as the middle-laners can’t cope with driving next to the hard shoulder
Agreed! We need the zipper sign…..It’s also used in some states in the USA to show this method of filtering. You are obliged to obey and one car from each lane takes the fore in turn…..no hogging and blocking!
And here we got another one sniffing cinnamon sticks
You’re correct – using a lane for as long as possible is the best way to lower congestion , but this does mean using it until it’s closed…
You must be living in fantasy world
Or taking something dodgy
From your picture I’d say your someone who’s vehicle doesn’t go over 40mph much so it wouldn’t bother you but I reckon most of the motorway queues are caused by the roadworks to build smart motorways … We never had such bad queues before 🙂
Seriously they are a con and my theory is that they are setting up for the future where we will be paying to ride the motorways … Maybe in 2084!
To right but I don’t think you will have to wait that long
The M42 is a complete nightmare. We try to avoid it if possible. One tip though, stay with the lorries in lane one and drive at their speed. You will find you make better progress than the idiots who stay in the second lane and never pull in!
You obviously haven’t used the M42 recently!
You should drive in the inside left lane unless overtaking. I find it very frustrating that a large number of drivers are still only using the right 2 lanes and leaving the left lanes empty. The left lane is empty half the time and drivers are using middle lanes going 60 mph. you then need to pull out to overtake to fast lane or undertake on inside which should be allowed as in USA. I thought police supposed to clamp down on drivers going slow in middle lanes and not pulling over to inside. The smart motorways are not smart as they tell you to slow down and you can go for miles driving slower and then you are back to normal speed all for nothing. Why do roadworks last for years on 15 mile stretch of M3 there should be no more than a 2 mile stretch being worked on at any time. there is no one there half the time anyway.
Smart motorways work. There is so much congestion at peak times additional lane space can only improve the situation. Making a law and imposing it is the right thing to do. If people are driving on motorways and are not aware of the meaning of signage etc should they be driving at all? You wouldn’t buy a new car and not read the manual or find out how and what the switches, dials etc are for. If you see something new on the road surely you should find out what it means. Let’s face it with all the time people spend looking at phones etc a little effort to use it sensibly for a change isn’t difficult, particularly if it could save your life and at least some money.
Now lets see the same technology applied to lane hogs, driving with faulty lights, using the phone whilst driving, vehicle tax and insurance dodgers.
With the lack of funding for police officers on the ground there are few if any deterrents these days. Fine and publish the results on the overhead gantries to focus their minds.
I have to totally echo the words of Stephen Brooks when it comes to the matter of the time spent within reduced speed limits and the duration of roadworks. Just recently on a sunday evening I passed through variable speed limts that oscillated between 30mph and 60mph almost arbitrarily on a drive up from Kent to the Midlands, sometimes almost seemingly to catch out motorists who are calmly cruising along at a steady (and moderate) motorway pace. However the biggest grumble I have is with the duration of the roadworks in the area of the M6/M1 interchange. These roadworks have been in that area (now expanded as far as M6 Jn2 and the M1 from at least Jn20 to Jn16 or thereabouts) since about 2008. And that’s ignoring the A14 which seems to have had diversions in effect since at least 2008, but which fortunately I do not need to use. I only do this particular drive a few times a year and invariably drive down to Kent during the night, thereby catching all the night-time motorway diversions and reduced speed limits along the way. How does the Highways Agency justify maintaining what must be a solid 20-miles-plus stretch of coned/narrowed motorway? There is no way that the whole stretch is being worked upon. It’s almost as though they are trying to accustom drivers to a permanently reduced speed limit once the ‘smart’ motorway changes are completed.
What doesn’t get taken into consideration is the fact that yes there is a red x above the lane but if nobody will let you out (into the next lane) you are considered in the wrong.
I was sent a warning letter and this happened to me. If the other lanes are congested and you can’t move into them what are you supposed to do? This is common sense and there seems to be a lack of this when people in the jobs making the decisions decide what the rule is.
It’s just avoiding the issue that the roads are too crowded and we need major investment in infrastructure. The M25 is a total joke the variable speed limits just cause a concertina effect and stop start so they haven’t improved it at all. We need a program of proper road building and instead of focusing on motorways we should build more dual carriageways which require less land and are cheaper to build. Trying to travel East / West in the south East of England is a Joke, you’ve either got the M25 or the M27 both of which are full to capacity. It’s still quicker to use the A272 which is mostly single track and crawls along at a steady 40 because it take no more time and is much less stressful than the motorways. From Haywards Heath to Swindon it’s still quicker to go A272 / A34 / M4 than to got M23 /M25 /M4 it’s ridiculous.
Smart motorways are a complete and utter waste of taxpayers money.
It’s very simple ban all lorry’s overtaking put Police in numbers back on the motorways.
Not going to happen because pensions will have to be paid to policie officers.
We The Motorist are bern taken for mugs!!!!
However, could it be that they are really just another means of raising revenue through driving fines?
No.Don’t be conspiratorially ridiculous.
We have a length of smart motoway nearby which I have to use almost everywhere I go. I still have no real idea how I am supposed to drive it and am always glad to get through it without breaking down because I don’t understand how the bays work and what happens if you break down between bays, let alone how you avoid being killed. Now that the motorway has been ‘smartened’ it takes a lot longer to get through that stretch than it used to and queues are worse and much more frequent.
what happens if you break down between bays
Well in part that’s what the X signs for closing a lane are for
If you get fined it’s your own fault, no-one else’s. Speed limits are posted, however frustrating. Red Cross lanes have been around for decades. Doesn’t anyone read the Highway Code anymore? It’s all in there.
it’s not clear who they’re sending letters to, is it people who simply pass under the first X with no regard as to whether they could safely switch lanes or not.
the rule is “If you see a red X closing a lane, move out of that lane promptly” which could be open to a lot of interpretation especially as they say that a red X may be used far in advance of an incident. Are drivers in other lanes allowing for drivers to move out of the X lane immediately at first sight of the X or are they taking “a nothing to do with me” attitude and belting along with no regard for the fact that those in the X lane have to change lanes
I find that on the M42 that these so called smart cameras don’t work at all. As everyone is slowing down as they approach the lower speed limit usually 60mph it just creates a big traffic jam. The traffic would move far quicker without them. Sometimes they can still be on at about 8pm when there’s barely any traffic on the motorway just holding everyone up.
But of course Its not about traffic management, its about revenue. Lower speed limits – more cameras- more revenue. Its legalised theft from the motorist. Its about time we had a voice to stop the motorist being a cash cow.
The M42 from 3A to 7 basically has a dawn to dusk 60mph applied regardless of conditions. It’s not a smart motorway like others but Highways England imposing their own speed limit.
Years ago we had advertisements on TV that advised us of new traffic and motoring regulations that are coming into force. Remember ‘Clunk Click’, ‘The Green Cross Code’ and such. It seems as though these days we are expected to understand new regulations without being advised, such as ‘Double Red Lines’, ‘Red Hatching’ , ‘Red Patches on the Road’. Now the first thing we know about these is when we get pulled over by our friendly policeman. Can’t we have these ‘Free Advice Adverts’ back to bring everyone up to date?
Totally agree with this. Remember for example the adverts from the early 80s warning drivers to always indicate on the motorway when changing lanes? (Followed by a screeching of tyres leaving the consequences of not doing so to the imagination.) How many do you see now, freely weaving in and out of lanes with never an indicator to be seen? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve nearly collided with someone entering a lane from the opposite side to me because they weren’t indicating.
Lane discipline comes to mind, but clearly drivers need educating on newer 4 or 5 lane motorways.
A red X should be a clear signal.
Unfortunately the days of Public information programmes (adverts on tv) are gone!
Bring them back…..
The red X is an existing rule from before smart highways so any driver should be fully aware what it means, there is no excuse for ignoring and putting others at risk.
The signs are very clear and easy to understand and I think this is just people who intentionally break the rules trying to use it as an excuse for their ignorance.
what about error messages i.e. emopty motorway and suddenly without any warning 20mph limit and all lanes except one closed – without any visible obstruction – this was on M25 at ca 1ish in the morning.
I am nearly 73. I have been reading English since the age of 4 – what I don’t read is X, red or otherwise. Why can’t the ‘powers that be’ put words on signs to clarify. I drive as rarely as possible on motorways but signage is often daft – e.g. on my way from Dover to Newbury, I tried to avoid travelling further on a crammed, stop-start M25 (aka Hell on Wheels!) by turning on to the M3, only to be confronted by 30mph signs because of upgrade works. For most of the 26 miles I was following a car doing just that speed – or a little less – BUT the driver was clearly falling asleep, drifting across the lanes in a slow, erratic manner. Had I accelerated, to avoid this dozy individual, I would certainly have been ‘clocked’ by one of the plethora of cameras! By the time I got to the Basingstoke turn I was so hypnotised that, in among the vast array of warning and other signs, I missed the turning but at least, free of the 30 limit, I made it to the A34 turn in even time.
I’m OK with speed limits to protect the workforce BUT, on a CLEAR, EMPTY motorway – ??????
Motorways, whether smart or not, are a complete rip off when it comes to buying fuel. Anyone who uses motorway service stations needs their head examining, when prices per litre are between thirty and forty pence highe than the would be Albi or Morrisons, to name but two
Why oh why do motorists not realise that it is their stupid behaviour that is the cause of accidents and not the motorway signs
smart motorways have always been to make money. This was my opinion from start. I don’t think they even keep traffic flowing, as it always leads to more congestion immediately. What i dislike most, and think is unsafe- when the speed limit suddenly changes down from one sign to the next overhead. Drivers then rapidly slow down, risking multiple pile-ups! If they don’t, they risk a fine. It’s just dangerous. Often, there seems no point to the speed restriction either.
Smart motorways just seem to be an excuse to surreptitiously reduce the speed limit on motorways. The speed limits on the M42 seem to be on throughout the day, rather than when just needed.
On my local “smart” motorway I’ve never seen the speed limit above 50mph- even when the road is comparatively empty.
One can only assume that this is a revenue raising exercise from people who get frustrated.
What keeps motorways flowing well is good driving, not speed limits which change so often they actually become a distraction. More drivers should have to retest if seen driving badly, not only is it progressive, it’s a huge deterrent, and fines can still be charged.
Trails on M42 apparently showed Smart to be the way to go. It still operates with variable speed limits and hard shoulder management messages (like in the report photo). SO, when expansion to 4 lanes results in no hard shoulder, WHY don’t Highways manage the inside lane as a hard shoulder? A breakdown that results in immediate stop (eg shredded tyre) means you’re stuck in the running lane. Safety at night? Traffic is lighter, 3 lanes are enough. Other times of the week traffic is lighter. MANAGE the inside lane PLEASE! Not just when there is a blockage. And do not put up or leave up false messages – we motorists soon learn to mistrust then ignore!!
I live in Wales and have never heard of “smart ” motorways. I only drive in Wales and the West Country. If I were to venture elsewhere and come upon these I hope it is obvious what the rules are on these as this has not been advertised.
If you passed your test and read the highway code, you will be alright. Its a motorway with automated speed and lane controll. If you see an X above your lane, get out of it. If you see a speed limit sign, stick under it. Its not rocket science..
I have always been irritated by the notices during roadworks to prepare for “smart motorways” – they always say “upgrading to smart motorway” – they should say “downgrading to smart motorway” . . . .
Furthermore, during these works, they close alarmingly long stretches, 17 miles or even more, and only do work on a few isolated parts at one time. It’s not surprising that motorists get frustrated and annoyed, the motorway authorities should be far more pro-active during these works.
As to the altered “smart” motorways themselves, many others have noted how the reduced speed limits are seldom imposed to coincide with traffic or accident conditions. One example, last Sunday at around 7pm I was driving along the newly-altered M5 between the junction with the M42 (J4A) and the northern Worcester junction (J6), a distance of about 11 miles and for the entire time there was a 50 limit imposed with a note saying “Possible debris on carriageway”. However, there were no workmen or police or traffic officers anywhere along that stretch and NO DEBRIS. Was using the cruise control to keep to the limit as I realise that the new speed cameras would be activated by the imposed limit. Nevertheless, although I was in the former hard shoulder lane other drivers would come up behind me and flash me to speed up. Throughout I was being overtaken in the three lanes to my right all the time and some appeared to be doing very high speeds (maybe over 100) in the “fast” lane. No doubt the “authorities” – who in practice are no longer answerable to anyone, have notched up plenty of cash in fines. I agree with the vast majority in this thread who ask for more education – to which I would add that the “authorities” should also be taught to be realistic – in the use of these roads before levying swingeing taxes – sorry, “fines” – on apparent transgressors. Over-taxing people makes them resentful and will lead to cynicism and, ultimately, a disaster. Who will be blamed? Not the guilty road authorities.
I would like to see more education perhaps through short TV adverts. Government ought to grant TV licences to the operators subject to them having say 30 seconds each hour for such public service announcements. However if drivers don’t recognise that a red cross means they shouldn’t be using that lane then they don’t have the intelligence to hold a driving license.
Government has spent a huge amount on smart motorways but the implementation completely lets it down. Signage is more often wrong/out of date than it is accurate. Therefore we all ignore it. Often reduced speed limits are raised only for the next gantry to have you slow down again. Accelerating and then suddenly having to break again adds more danger.
What is the point of us having modern traffic warning systems in our cars when the authorities rarely post the problems. Near me we recently had several weeks of major disruption whilst an island was enlarged but I never saw it come up on my Traffic information. At the same time there was major work on the M5 and every day they posted the same warning of 6 mile queues when on some days traffic flowed almost as normal.
As ever the problem lies with the civil servants who run these things but who would be deemed totally unemployable in the private sector.
Am I expected to drive on a flat tyre to reach a layby
Either that or get rammed by the next big lorry in Lane 1
I take it your modern car does not have driver flat tyres? Does your engine have limp mode for when it breaks down? Most modern cars have these features now. The only feature a car seems to have lost is a sensible driver…
In response to the totally infuriating habit many drivers have in hogging the right hand lanes and overtaking fresh air for miles, causing us to brake and negociate the moving road block in many cases, why can we not adopt the american system and reduce our stress levels considerably.
I have just returned from a 4,500 mile road trip in the US and it was so easy to get on to the freeway/interstate and calmly get up to the national speed limit in one lane.
All I had to do was concentrate on keeping my distance from the cars up front and once I was up to speed, put on the cruise control and simply point the car.
I never really needed to change lanes unless I was leaving that raod or the signs on the median told me a lane was blocked or whatever, and everyone simply moved over to the left or the right. No fuss and no horns!”
can anyone tell me why we cannot adopt the same system?
My god, you speak of this wonderful place where people can driver…. Please banish yourself. Never speak of this strange thing again….
Yeah just money making,was travelling back to depot early Monday morning when speed cam flashed on southbound side of M1 just before tibshelf services,a truck was going passed no speed restrictions in place and was obviously not speeding, as I went passed speed cam opposite on northbound side that went off as well,no speed restrictions in place and truck is limited to 88 kph,I’ve been in touch with highways agency who just say that I will have to wait and see if I will get a notice of intended prosecution,for what ? I wasn’t speeding and no variable limits in place,so how do I prove that the cam must be faulty I suppose it fall at my feet to do so,we’re just easy targets for extra income .
I cover a lot of miles in the car each year, all over the country, and “smart” motorways are consistently the slowest, most frustrating motorways I ever have the misfortune to drive on.
Variable speed limit signs coupled with speed cameras to induce mass panic-braking when the speed limit suddenly drops by 20mph and all traffic approaching the gantry desperately tries to avoid going through the camera over the new limit.
Speed limits suddenly dropping for no apparent reason, inducing concertina-braking traffic jams. Reduced speed limits left in force long after the related hazard has gone, totally undermining the credibility of the speed limits in general. Speed limits being reduced for the slightest thing (a bit of rain, someone stopped on the hard shoulder, patches of mist), again undermining their credibility.
In reality a motorway based upon the principles of the Autobahn would be far better in terms of safety, congestion and reduced journey times, but then how would the government make money from that? No, no, instead we get these frustrating, dangerous cash-generators marketed using the transparent, patronising “smart” Americanism (maybe it’s an initialism, but regardless, it’s an irritating misnomer) as if they’re actually this great thing that motorists should all welcome. Apparently we’re all naive, slack-jawed incompetents who need to be nannied and should love it too.
if there is anyone out there who seriously doesn’t know what the red X is for or what they should do when they see 40/50/60 then god have mercy on them