In an interview last week with the BBC, Matt Pates, East Midlands regional traffic operations manager for Highways England, claimed that smart motorways were safe, if not safer without the hard shoulder. His comment was met with a howl of derision from various motoring groups.
Mr Pates said the need for hard shoulders had become redundant because modern cars are now fitted with technology that warns the driver when they’re about to break down, giving them plenty of time to act.
He also argued that vehicles are more reliable today than ever before and the chances of suffering a reliability issue are at an all-time low.
Motoring organizations such as the AA, MPs and the Police have all raised concerns over the increase in collisions on smart motorway sections with no hard shoulder, with an all-party parliamentary group asking for them to be halted until safety concerns are addressed.
Collisions in Red X lanes
Two people were killed in the same stretch of an ALR (All Lanes Running) on the M1 in Derbyshire. An 83-year-old man Derek Jacobs was killed when his van came to a halt, potentially due to a mechanical failure according to police, on a stretch of motorway that had no hard shoulder, just emergency refuge areas which are spaced just over a mile apart.
Breakdown patrol workers have shown how dangerous it can be, especially if the smart motorway is an ALR and the dangers of ignoring the Red X above the lane as it risks lives every time. And despite tough new penalties to drivers for driving in a lane marked red, collisions are still happening.
Police have also raised issues saying they struggle to get to the issue faster as there is no hard shoulder for them to cut through now, and the same applies for any emergency services.
Emergency services now must weave through the traffic to get to the crash which is often congested quite a long way back, increasing the amount of time it takes to reach the accident and save lives.
How do smart motorways work?
The first ever smart motorway was on the M25 in 1996 according to Highways England. Since then over four hundred miles have been converted across the country. In 2018 the Chancellor approved the installation of smart motorways all over the UK at a cost of £23 Billion.
Smart motorways use Active Traffic Management (ATM) to monitor roadways and make decisions on how to best control traffic. This is done by one of two methods. The first is a copper coil placed underneath the roads and when a car, which is metal, passes over it registers an electric current which then detects how fast the car is going and also how many cars are passing over. The second is a roadside “side-fire radar” which is the preferred method as it both easier to maintain and reduces the risk of potholes. This shoots a beam from the side of the road which then picks up the speed and distance between cars.
This data from either the coils or the beams are then sent to a central computer which uses a lengthy algorithm to determine whether it needs to slow the traffic down if it thinks the road is getting too busy to prevent congestion. It may seem strange slowing down when there seems to be no apparent reason, but this is all to prevent potential congestion rather than slowing down for congestion.
The computer can only change speed automatically everything else is done by human interaction. Lanes closing are controlled by the operations centre, which relies on members of the public, police, CCTV information and more. They will close lanes, show other messages and show lane merge messages.
There are three kinds of smart motorways; controlled, where people cannot drive on the hard shoulder, dynamic hard shoulder, where the hard shoulder can be converted into an extra lane using the overhead gantries and then an ALR (All Lanes Running) where there is a refuge area every 1.55 miles.
Using a smart motorway safely
This isn’t just about your safety, this about the safety of others. For example, driving in a lane with a Red X above could end up with you crashing into the back of a police car or ambulance. Not only that but you’ll get a £100 fine and three points on your license.
Make sure you are aware of the gantries above, as these will tell you what to do and follow the instructions as best as possible by slowing down carefully and speeding back up carefully.
If you do breakdown or must seek refuge at the side of the road either pull over into the hard shoulder or the next refuge area. If this is not possible then use the verge. If you breakdown in a lane on a smart motorway and are not able to reach a refuge area call 999 immediatly.
Once you have stopped in an emergency refuge area call Highways England, either through an emergency roadside phone or on 0300 123 5000 from a mobile. They will then make the motorway safe for you and give advice on what to do next. In the event of a breakdown, phone your breakdown provider and then let them know where you are plus any more information you have.
Do you think smart motorways are safe? Would you feel comfortable in a refuge area? Let us know in the comments below
There should be at least twice as many refuge areas. Two days ago I saw a BMW 3 series whose flat tyre had come off the rim – it’s a lot harder to tell you have a flat with a modern low profile tyre, as the car does not noticeably “sit down” on that corner. That caused a 3 mile queue.
Truck drivers have so many wheels – and some are so far away from the cab – that they sometimes don’t know they’ve got a flat until it catches fire.
Also, just because modern vehicles are more reliable, it doesn’t mean that people maintain them properly (they probably neglect them even more than before). So you still have breakdowns, people try to get to the refuge area; but can’t always make it. One broken down light truck (a 2007 Mercedes) caused about a 10 mile queue on the M1 some three months ago.
Only one refuge is required on any motorway and it’s already there. It’s more commonly called the hard shoulder and has saved many lives.
This is utter bulls**t
The only reason there safer is because they have slowed traffic down by 90% travelling by car takes 3 times longer and less efficiently and they also make billions of pounds in fines for travelling on a road designed for safety at national speed limits for going 2mph over what they decide is viable at the time.
Let’s set limit to 40mph because there is an “accident” sorry can’t use that word as it makes someone liable to blame “incident” 700 miles on another road…. that just so happens by chance you may if you even were thinking it’s somewhere in hell you may want to go….. slow because emergency services close off 3 lanes because someone has run over a pebble got scared and needs a neck brace because of whiplash…
Pathetic post nothing safe about them
Rubbish. I feel less safe now the hard shoulder has gone.
I came round a curve on the M1 in a truck at 42tons to find a car half on the grass verge and a police car behind. I could not pull out due to other traffic only being able to pull out at the last second and nearly cleaned the pair of them up.
In that case you were driving too fast for the distance you could safely seei.
Rubbish the speed for an Hgv on a motorway is legally 60mph but all Hgvs are limited to 56mph some even at 52mph so if he was travelling at 56mph on the motorway where the road ahead was clear then he was doing nothing wrong it’s not his fault that someone had broken down on the hard shoulder the hard shoulder was designed for a reason that reason being emergencies they were never supposed to be used as an active lane for moving vehicles
He didn’t know the road was clear,because as he says he couldn’t see round the curve,so Rubbish back at you.
Dead right Mate. Cant see ? then slow down. Basic common sense apart from basic Highway code. I worry that loads of posters on the Thread have no idea and are driving around amongst us.
Mr perfect perfect pitty we never meet you and your kind on the roads you would put us all to shame
So what you’re saying is that even though other HGVs probably obscured the view ahead due to the bend in the road, he should simply have brakes, just like all the other scared Muppets?
Wow, imagine the congestion, emissions and accidents if the majority of people acted so mindlessly whilst ironically believing they are intelligent and informed drivers.
Sorry to have interrupted, Bob1 (below).
That’s the speed limit not the Speed to drive at all the time. ie One is supposed to drive according to how far ahead they can see, and the road conditions, but no more than the Limit. And you are joking about the limiters aren’t you ? I am regularly passed by massive Rigs when I am doing 60/65 mph
Don’t argue He’s knows it all ?!
Get a life Mr perfect your comment fits your name
That’s right. You were driving way too fast if you couldn’t stop in time. That’s a big problem these days, Drivers hare round bends not thinking there may be an obstruction around the corner. Read the Highway code.
Bet you do ges
Did you pass a driving test or just buy your licence on the black market ?
You should only travel at the speed where you can brake safely and in time,whether motorway or not.
There is a road near me with a 50 mph limit and about 7 sharp blind bends in about a mile,only an utter moron would do 50 mph on that road,I.e.you may meet a horse,a group of cyclists,a tractor,an elderly walker(it’s on a walking route)crossing,a collision,or even a breakdown..I have never been on a motorway with such a curve that you couldn’t do 50 mph safely,so does thE OP do 50mph round a curve where he has no sight of the road in front and just hope for the best.Like people who do 70 in the fog.
So Grim Reaper has a valid point,and maybe Derek needs a wake up call.
Definitely going too fast. Don’t know of many bends on any motorway where you can’t see round them. They’re not country lanes, they’re built to travel on at speed and thus with adequate sight lines.
I recently experienced a total, electrical failure, in the outside lane of a motorway, in a modern car, with no prior warning. I couldn’t operate the turn signals, hazard lights or even lower the windows to use hand signals. Fortunately a wagon driver noticed my dilemma and managed to slow the traffic down enough for me to free wheel to the hard shoulder, where I waited for an hour fo assistance. I would have absolutely hated to have been on a “Smart” motorway with the shoulder used as a running lane, reliant on cameras to close it off to other drivers. Smart motorways are NOT safe!
I was on the other side of a similar incident last year. Gentleman in a Citroen Picasso broke down in the outer Lane of the M4. Traffic backed up. Cars slowing and going around him. I went around, stopped reversed in front and got out my tow rope. The guy asked could I just help him push the car on to the hard shoulder, which we did, across four lanes. What could we have done if there was no hard shoulder? Tow him to the next refuge point?
‘’Don’t leave a vehicle. Under any circumstances’’ …..what about a fire? I’d chance the traffic rather than an explosion or incineration; especially since the fire service would probably be grid-locked in the traffic jam behind me.. No, I don’t see how smart motorways can be safer without the dedicated hard shoulder.
The problem is that the people who make these decisions drive modern cars but there is a huge number of 20+ year old cars still on the road and they ARE liable to breakdown when driven at 70 mph for long periods. Surveys have shown that a lot of drivers don’t know anything about the regular checks they should make on their cars and don’t even know how to check tyre pressures. They don’t have their cars serviced regularly and simply wait for something to go wrong.
The people who designed these stupid smart motorways and all lane running must be graduates who either hardly ever drive on a motorway or can’t drive at all.
If they lived in the real world they would never have allowed this very dangerous stupidly.
Put the hard shoulders back before more people get killed. While I’m at it, get rid of the speed cameras as they are seriously distracting drivers.
100% agree. “smart motorways” cost a fortune to implement,actively cause congestion and are dangerous. They provide no where for you to “escape” if you suffer a major failure. They also prevent Emergency Services to cut through the traffic to get to an incident. In addition and quite apart from all the other signs, that nowadays distract drivers concentration, you now have to decide exactly when you can use the hard shoulder as a driving lane and when you cannot, as it constantly varies. On a lengthy trip to Somerset today I can confirm that “smart motorways” actually impede traffic flow and therefore increase pollution. I agree it is probably graduates who have come up with this nonsense. “Let us cut back funding on Police Patrols and instead introduce constantly variable rules and put up loads of speed cameras so we can make a fortune out of people just trying to get somewhere” seems to be the standard approach today and distract drivers awareness by making them look at multiple varying signs”.
Barry, I was today talking to a motorway hgv enforcement officer with Manchester police. He said that the force don’t like smart motorways because of the problem with refuge points spacing was done by how far you can coast with a broken down engine. He said what if it was a wheel bearing or a seized gearbox? Your not coasting any were!
Exactly. Did anyone stop to think for a minute why hard shoulders were put on motorways before dismissing them and using them as “normal” lanes? They were not put there for fun or anything to do with cost or traffic flow . It was about safety. Somewhere to escape to in a serious emergency away from all the other fast moving traffic (though not so fast moving now, thanks to “smart motorways”) and to allow Emergency Service vehicles to gain access, after an incident when the normal lanes are all blocked (having a son as a Firefighter, then I know the difficulties they have getting through traffic). If they were really “smart motorways” with their constantly variable speed limits, they why not increase the speed limits to 80, 90, or even 100 mph in the early hours of the morning when motorways are empty and weather conditions are good, surely “smart” should work both ways? Modern cars are perfectly safe and capable of these speeds. DO NOT tell me “speed kills”. It is inept driving for the prevailing conditions that kills.
Smart motorways are not so smart at all.
These SMART (Self Monitoring And Reporting Technology) things are an oxymoron. For motorways it is a way to increase flow capacity on the cheap (compared to new roads or more proper lanes). Yes, safety appears to be compromised but the real danger is to believe people like Matt Pate who makes plenty money from his lies. Unfortunately this modis operandi has become the norm and people in government or agencies get to do this with impunity whilst being financially rewarded.
Data can represent just about anything, it seems.
The idea of people not having cars serviced adequately to ensure reliability came in around 15 or so years ago. Manufacturers wanted their cars to look affordable on paper which frankly succoured many people to buying new cars with unreliable emission control equipment.
These days we just hope cars won’t suffer some failure as it is far too expensive to have everything maintaining 90-100% of efficiency. It’s the modern way but is it progress?
I understand how smart motorways work as I train this to drivers. However dft and highways England have failed to educate drivers on the practical use of these stretches.. Whilst the Highway Code talks about the use who ever picks up a Highway Code.
It will take a generation for this to become the norm. One question what would happen on a dual carriageway that has no hard shoulder? 🤔
Dual carriageways normally have grass verges. “Smart” motorway lanes are often boxed in by concrete walls.
IN THEORY smart motorways may work but that is only when all the parameters are not taken into account. There are so many problems in the real world of variable speed limits that they will never reduce congestion. Even when ALL cars are driverless, if that ever happens, it won’t reduce congestion because the automation in the cars will already be dealing with that.
Umm what ? What theory is that then , as ignoring all the parameters makes it pointless.
Driving for 52 years and not come across Dual Carriageway yet that didn’t have Soft verges or some kind of car sized space alongside.
As a former Traffic Patrol Police Officer I am horrified by Smart Motorways….not everyone observes speed limits let alone the Red X above the carriageway….also a lot of drivers think the speed limit figure shown on gantries above the M/way is advisory and not compulsory….Stupid idea…not thought out properly.
Like so many government led initiativesJoin the discussion…
Hi, I understand your position as an ex traffic officer. But I believe they are safe. It’s the driver’s using them that need to be educated. The incompetence of some drivers is mind blowing. Additionally these smart motorways should have average speed cameras as standard. As you know a driving licence is a privilege not a right and the test should be much tougher than it currently is. Perhaps a simulator assessment to put potential drivers in situations they may come across in whilst out driving. A hazard awareness part too. Stop concentrating on what you’re going to be doing when you get home or work and concentrate on the road! Tough education is key I believe. On another note, I believe that anyone convicted of assaulting a police officer or other emergency service, should face a minimum 6 week prison sentence. Hopefully it will deter the many, but you’ll always get the few. Kind regards
I have to disagree. You assert that smart motorways are safe but also that many drivers are incompetent. They are often ignorant and lack imagination of what may be the consequences of their actions. Stupid drivers will continue to behave stupidly.
The government will not educate drivers to the required standard for the same reason that they have chosen to make the hard shoulder ‘live’ I.e. money.
You know absolutely nothing about driving safety and you should be ashamed that your
contrary statement challenges common sense drivers who do have what you do not have and that is perception.
Agreed. One thing that I can not really understand. How can you pass a driving test without ever having driven on a Motorway and then the same day you can drive on a motorway? Driving on a motorway is different to driving in urban or suburban areas. Ludicrous that motorway driving is not part of your driving test. Yes, I passed mine without ever driving on a motorway. I then drove down the M6 & M1 from the West Midlands to London for the first time, sh***ing myself!! That was well over 40 years ago and with a lot less traffic. Yet still no motorway driving to get a driving license?
I don’t think the M42 is in Wales, since it runs South of Birmingham?
No hard shoulders means no access for emergency vehicles. Breakdowns are only one reason for a vehicle to use a hard shoulder there’s punctures, hitting debris in the road, illness, fire, drink and drug driving, and verge maintenance. I agree with having refuge areas AND hard shoulders we need more of them both.
This is yet another fine example of lunatics running the asylum, I would suggest that they would be better employed arguing for two East West motoways 1 from East Norfolk making a direct link using some existing motorways in part to Liverpool / Manchester areas
& 2 from Felixstowe Harwich to Bristol / Port Talbot using the same method, this can reduce a great deal of the pressure on the current motorway system. This seems to baffle Westminster as they are planning ahead using the centres of trade based on the 18 & 19 century not the present day
The genius who is Chris Grayling, when interviewed by the head of the AA was asked:
“Minister, what would you do if your car broke down and stopped on a smart motorway live lane?
“I’d get out of the car”
AA: “Minister, you’d be killed!”
The spokesman from Highways England who said that Smart Motorways are safer is not to be believed. I suspect that he is doing what politicians and those who want to ‘get on’ do I.e. Toeing the line with an indefensible but unchallenged statement that is beyond parody.
You are right in what you say……. But will these dangerous designers go to prison because that is what they deserve. They should also be battered each and every day by the families of the dead. The deaths have been caused directly by the designers of these ALR motorways. I have more sense in a part of my anatomy that has a mind of it’s own but I’m damn sure it has more brains in it that all the Highways England’s designers put together. I’ve had three replies that are lies from them all saying these stupid motorways are safe. Gross professional misconduct is what they are guilty of & so they should all be sacked immediately for that alone…..
Incredibly dangerous and Ibadly thought out. I drive around 6000 mike’s a month and every day I see breakdowns on ALR stretches. It’s a very dangerous place to be with traffic pulling out far too late and causing others to brake hard. You are actually better off getting out of the vehicle and walking ahead 50 yards. Anything hitting your vehicle at speed will most likely kill you. On a dark wet night and with no lights, getting struck from behind on a ‘Smart’ motorway is just a matter of time – and a very short one.
Very few people avoid the red cross. Very few people even understand lane hogging. While we have arrogant or ignorant people on the road these accidents will always happen.
Interestingly one of the M1 “smart motorway” fatalities was the result of the driver leaving her car, finding a “safe” space some distance ahead. . . and then having her car whacked into her when it was struck by another vehicle.
Smart motorways are a disaster to happen, whoever thought them up should have the experience of breaking down in an ALR & see how they like it. There should be an immediate stop to anymore from being built.
All part of the state culling program
Bring back hard shoulders. The refuge areas are far too short to slow to a stop in or to bring ones speed up to match motorway traffic before joining the running lane. Smart motorways are an abomination.
You have to call the highways dept & they will help you leave the refuge area
How many times have you seen speed reduced for an accident and driven several miles without any trace of an accident. Why is it that speed is regularly reduced to 40 mph when traffic can only go at 10mph. That is just a wind up. Speed restrictions need to be realistic and practical not subject to some theoretical computer algorithm and a mindless human operator. The majority of speed restrictions are unbelievable which brings the whole system into disrepute. On many occasions speed has been decreased (for miles before a supposed incident) but there is absolutely no indication when the restriction has come to an end. Should we crawl along at, say, 40mph for mile after mile after mile? We should be trusted to be able to read the road and drive accordingly.
Sadly Bill seems to have little understanding about sensible driving. The 40 limit is intended to improve traffic flow. Will he ever learn that driving faster just makes the traffic jam more likely?
I know of speed limits that were only lowered after many years of selfish idiots diving too fast (& over the old limit) resulting in many deaths. Just like the nonsense arguments about speed cameras, so we got road humps. Result everyone has to suffer.
Phil, leave the stupid idea that speed kills behind, movement, ie speed is needed to have a crash, a c**p driver at 30mph is just as dangerous as a speeder, it’s the inappropriate speed that is a problem, driving to close and hogging the middle lane. I regularly drive fast on the motorway but always stick to 20 an 30 limits because of kids an people walking. My license has been clean for 26 years of hgv car an motorcycle riding. Had one crash when I was 18, knocked of me bike by car not looking at a junction.
The traffic slows to 10MPH simply because the signs say 40MPH. I don’t understand why but the evidence is always there every single time! Once you approach the derestricted signs the traffic speeds up. It may be because when you see 40MPH on a motorway you assume that there has been an accident. Speeds on motorways are generally self managed by congestion itself. Where the dumb motorway system perceives a problem that isn’t actually there it causes congestion followed by the snoball effect that often reduces speeds to 10MPH or below.
That’s the point. The average Driver can’t be trusted.
My friends son works on the recovery vans and they say the smart motorways with no hard shoulder are not safe, my sister and I had a blow out it was really scary as we are not tall enough to get behind the crash barriers 🙀
Who was the dummy who thought up the idea that smart motorways were a good idea. All it was was a way of saving money so they did not have to fork out for an additional lane to ease congestion. The chickens are coming home to roost.
One can only say one thing “Chris Grayling Transport minister” need we say anymore.
He has not got the nickname ‘Failing Grayling’ without good reason!
In Newport Pagnell, the Smart Motorway work has resulted in M! flooding and also flooding in adjacent homes and streets.
At a Council meeting this week, Anglian Water Authority & Highways Uk and cotractors reported to a public meeting, AWA not there problem!!But they use this commodity to sell to me when I turn on my water tap.
Highways Agency, said they had no idea of drains location!!!
A ggod reason not to Smart motorway if a bunch of idiots design and then dispise of plans.
How can a smart no hard shoulder or refuge (breakdown safety area ) be a good idea in anyway shape or form never heard such a ridiculous idea . Almost as stupid as raising speed limit to 80mph on motorway’s
They scare me. Feel so unsafe on them. Stupid idea.
I drive Hgv,s & Psv,s for a living and Smart motorways are the most stupid dangerous thing i have seen . These should be halted immediately and hard shoulders reintroduced.
Killing people to save a few seconds !
If the if the idea is to increase or speed up traffic flow why allow speed restricted HGV’s into third lane.If you want to speed up traffic flow put “NO HGV” signs above the third and fourth lanes
All lanes running is a brilliant idea. I think that most of the comments here are from people who do not trust the ability of the lane closure procedure, which creates an instant hard shoulder. The radar and speed sensors immediately close the lane and the red X is displayed.
The reason people don’t trust the system is because of all the out of date and incorrect information displayed. The system would have more credibility if the messages were turned off more quickly when the incident was cleared. This is important. Most drivers think the displayed messages are no longer valid and ignore the whole thing including the red X’s.
The lane closure idea does NOT work, it gets ignored by incompetent drivers.
The red X is NOT automatic. Read the article fully.
It also gets ignored. At least with a hard shoulder people who are awake and not on the phone know they are never allowed to drive on it.
Why do we have hard shoulders?
Are the emergency services and breakdown services impeded if all lanes are live? Is the risk of injury and to life greater?
Will drivers ignore signs?
Are ‘lane closure’ signs instantaneous?
What happens if your car will not reach a refuge?
Will drivers swerve at the last minute or realise what is going on too late and collide with a stationary vehicle in a live lane causing a multiple crash if drivers cannot reach a refuge?
Is it a better (safer) idea to have a refuge up to a mile away or no more than thirty feet away?_ you would have to travel further than this to a hard shoulder, granted, but you’d have to travel further to a refuge too.
What is the primary motivation for Smart motorways? (Easier and cheaper than adding lanes, perhaps?)
Has Chris Grayling ever had a good idea? ( £2.7bn cost to the taxpayer due to his incompetence)
I think you are right about drivers ignoring signs on gantrys because they are out of date.
There are not many of ‘you’ people who say ALR motorways are safe so will you reveal the extent of your intelligence by stating what year the car you dive was manufactured and while I’m at it what brand as well because you might drive a Lamborghini or even a new Rolls Royce for all we know?
Of course smart motorways are NOT safe. It’s a no-brainer!
“Stay in the car?” are you mad?
But where do you go? This is very scary and potentially deadly
I know. Even with a hard shoulder the advice was to leave the car and get behind the barrier. Who is going to sit in a car half on the inside lane because they couldn’t make it to a refuge area? Madness. I hate them.
What a load of rubbish. So called smart motorways are the biggest joke I have ever seen. If there is a multiple pile up and all lanes are closed. How the hell do the emergency services get to it. The longer they take the more people die. Possibly the department of transport don’t care. They just want more traffic moving.
The idea behind all this is to kill off all the motorists rather than improve or widen motorways where needed. Perhaps they should actually start penalising all this motorists that stop to cut into a queue or changing lane at the last minute, they are the ones causing pileups and always on motorways. How often do you see these accidents on A roads? How often do we see breakdowns on A roads, always on motorways and always seems to be on busy intersections!
No, no, no, the government don’t want motorists dead, they are worth too much alive, who else can they keep increasing taxes on. Without motorists, smokers & drinkers, the government’s income would be too severely reduced!
Hahaha yes, they should be looking after us and keeping us safe.
Your post is absolutely correct in every detail. I can confirm that if I’m on the motorway even with a hard shoulder driving my old slow land rover I see dozens of HGV’s in particular right up my a**e because they swerve out at the last second before overtaking…….The same scenario without any where to go breaking down in the live lane must be the most frightening experience for any driver. It must have been Mr D Head who thought of the ALR Motorway.
What planet is this clown on? It’s impossible to take away the shoulder and make the Motorways safer.
That said, as smart Motorways were the idea and invention of the Highways Agency, he’s hardly gone to say they are less safe, is he.
they’ve spent millions on this idiotic idea of no hard shoulder , of course they will say its better until a lot more people die or are seriously injured , its all about the money not safety as usual , they want to turn off the street lights and raise the limit to 80 mph , absolute madness
This smart motorway system is perfect in THEORY, but in real life I think we will find MORE people killed or seriously injured. Completely ridiculous and very DANGEROUS.
No smart motorways in Scotland that I am aware of, but recent experience of the M5 was terrifying
NO WAY ARE SMART MOTORWAYS SAFER WITHOUT A HARD SHOULDER! MR PATES IS DELUDED IF HE THINKS CARS CAN PREDICT SUDDEN FAILURES. AS A DRIVER OF ALMOST 70 YEARS EXPERIANCE I HAVE ON SEVERAL OCCAISIONS HAD SUDDEN AND UNFORSEEN BREAKDOWNS-ONE MEMERABLE TIME WAS ON THE M23 WHEN THE CONTACT BREAKER INSIDE THE ALTERNATER SNAPPED WHEN I WAS IN THE OUTSIDE LANE OVERTAKING AND LEFT WITHOUT POWER!
Alternator only charges the battery. How come you had no power?
Is this Matt Pates some kind of a idiot, I wonder if he would like to express his views to the families of people who have lost their lives on the hard shoulder of smart motorways, Why is he not honest about the issue and admit it is all about cost saving.
Matt Pates is obviously a prat! I am always amazed at some of the crazy thinking going on in the heads of these people who think if they have a set of rules and some coloured lights it will resolve all the problems you encounter on a motorway!!! I note that at least the police are not impressed with his thinking and they spend a lot of time on the motorways for various duties and want the hard should retained. Think Matt Pates should look for a more appropriate job!
Put him a mock breakdown situation at night in the pouring rain, in an unlit section & see how he gets on.
This is insane! Not “Smart” at all….so stupid
Smart motorways are dangerous and I avoid them if possible. There are many reasons for needing a hard shoulder urgently: tyre blowout, loose load, feeling unwell…
To quote Mandy Rice-Davies: “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they!”. Having p***ed away half a billion pounds (so far) on the stupidest idea since 3-lane carriageways (where traffic from both directions could use the middle lane to overtake), nobody is ever going to omit they were as dumb as a rock. At least, not until the bodies pile up.
There was an idea last week to start burying people along the side of motorways when the cemeteries fill up. (I kid you not — google it.) Smart motorways deal with both problems at once. Who says we don’t have connected government.
I was reading this as I don’t know what a smart motorway is we have none in South Wales or the West Country.
Sounds horrific and dangerous I would definitely avoid in my 22 year old campervan.
There is a smart motorway between Magor ,Newport and Cardiff. They are an abomniation.
What percentage of breakdowns were electrical last year? Great vision when we are all going to be driving all electric cars.
ALL motorways should have a hard shoulder, stopping points are of no use if your car stops suddenly through whatever reason and believe me there are many. The hard shoulder is there for the sole purpose of moving out of the flow of traffic to a relative place of safety, these so-called intelligent motorways are DANGEROUS and you or any government sponsored outfit will make me change my mind. Roadside break down companies crews are dicing with death every day and on these “intelligent” MOTORWAYS only adds to the depressing death toll of these knights of the road. No matter how much this is supposedly saving money, this exercise needs to be scrapped as it is increasing the death toll!
Smart motorways aren’t safe they’re downright dangerous! But it’s okay folks, the government will save a few quid, and if a few people die so what! THAT’S THE GOVERNMENT’S STANCE. MAKE NO MISTAKE…
Nothing to do with safety, anything with the word “Smart” in it is used for surveillance, control and revenue collection. Can also be part of the state culling system.
Perhaps that’s why “smart” motorways are going to be renamed “digital” motorways!
Has this idiot ever had to deal with a breakdown on a live running lane on then will he will know how dangerous it is to be working on a live lane on a motorway Ask those who have had to do just that ?
Well if all road users believe, rightly, that SMART motorways are thoroughly unsafe – but the Govt. disagrees, why should we be surprised.
They can’t run the country to save their lives, so keep away from decisionns regarding the motorways – and stop wasting billions of pounds with your “head in the sand” mentality !!!!!!
You might just safe a few lives and allow the saved money to be used on real improvements for us all.
Well put!! They could’ve spent all that money widening the motorways instead!
No SMART Motorways are death traps due to the non existence of a hard shoulder. A gap of 1.5 miles before reaching a refuge which in lots of cases is far too small to pull into, especially for long lorries and other vehicles with long loads(trailers ,Caravans etc). An accident waiting to happen. What about the breakdown companies vehicles can they get into the so say safe area and attend to the broken down vehicle, as the total length of vehicles in this situation is too long. No one knows when a vehicle you are driving is going to break down or get a puncture. Immediate ability to move out of the way of other traffic is compromised. It would appear that the whole scheme is waited towards seeing the cost of another running lane an reliant to far too greater extent on modern technical systems that can fail. Vehicles may be less prone to failure these days but it still happens otherwise there would be no need to have breakdown companies patrolling roads.
VERY MUCH OPPOSED TO NOT HAVING A HARD SHOULDER TO ESCAPE TO IF NECESSARY ON MOTORWAYS.
The refuge areas will probably be full of electric cars with dead batteries.
Since when has the m42 been in Wales
PM to Minister of Transport, “That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into Stanley”
Smart motorways are an accident waiting to happen. The person that dreamt the idea up must have there brain wired wrong.
The instructions you show on using a smart motorway are surely a joke? If you break down on a normal motorway the advice is pull onto the hard shoulder, get out of the car by the nearside doors and wait on the (usually) grassy area away from the road. For the smart motorway you say the advice is stay in the car and ‘phone the highways agency on a number you probably won’t have in your phone(assuming you have a mobile and assuming the vehicles following you at possibly 70mph haven’t slammed into the back of you!). If you breakdown just before a gantry then an X can only be put up on the previous gantry on your lane some distance beforehand so all those cars after the previous gantry will not be aware of your stopped vehicle possibly until they hit it if they haven’t been able to swerve into lane 2 which will probably be full anyway.
And to read that it is humans in the control centre who oversee all this is so worrying, we have all seen the rubbish put up on the display screens, extremely rarely have I found it useful.
So-called ‘SMART’ motorways are the dumbest possible development.
Refuge areas well over a mile apart are no substitute for a hard shoulder, as continuous as possible.
Sure it Pates not Prat!