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A Guide To Smart Motorways

A Guide To Smart Motorways

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Check out our guide on how to safely drive on a smart motorway

The development of smart motorways is increasing in an attempt to relieve traffic congestion across the busiest parts of the UK road network. While a smart motorway might seem similar to a regular motorway there are a very important differences you need to be aware of so you can keep yourself and other road users safe. Read on for our top tips!

Overhead Signs

As with any motorway it is important to keep note of the overhead signs. On a smart motorway the speed limit will be change accordingly, depending on how busy the motorway is and if there are any areas of congested traffic up ahead. As well as speed limits, lane closures are also lit up on the overhead signs.

Hard Shoulder

The hard shoulder on a smart motorway can be opened into a ‘live lane’ at any time to alleviate congested traffic. Take note of the overhead signs to see if the hard shoulder is open or not to live traffic. A red ‘X’ in the sign above the fourth lane will indicate that the lane is closed to live traffic and using it at such a time will not go down well with the law, as there could be an accident or debris in the lane ahead.

Refuge Areas

When driving on a smart motorway the safest place to stop in an emergency is the designated refuge area; these areas are marked with blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone. A recent survey by the RAC revealed that 52% of motorists aren’t confident on how to use a refuge area on a smart motorway correctly.

These are laybys next to the hard shoulder and are for emergency use only. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to pull into one of these laybys make sure you alert other traffic around you by indicating your intentions to pull over and always turn on your hazard warning lights. Each refuge area will have an orange emergency phone. Once everyone has safely left the car, via the left side, you can use this phone to contact Highways England who will inform you of what to do next.

Although it may be tempting to pull into the hard shoulder, on certain areas of some smart motorways, the hard shoulder is sometimes used as a live lane especially during peak traffic periods. You will know if this lane is open as it will have a speed limit on the overhead sign. However, if there is a red ‘X’, the usual rules apply for the hard shoulder; only to be used in emergencies.

Smart motorways are becoming more widely used across the UK as a way of alleviating traffic during busy times. Do you think they’re a good idea? Let us know!

Richard Hardie Durham Supporting Local Hospice

Richard Hardie Durham Supporting Local Hospice

Posted on: 19th Jan 2018

Both the Sales and Service team at Richard Hardie Durham have helped to support St Cuthbertís Hospice, a local charity offering care services to people with life limiting conditions.

Driving Test Changes In December 2017

Driving Test Changes In December 2017

Posted on: 4th Dec 2017

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have confirmed that from today (Monday 4th December), changes to the driving test are now in effect.

Winter Driving Questions Unveiled: Part 1

Winter Driving Questions Unveiled: Part 1

Posted on: 15th Nov 2017

With the cold winter days fast approaching and the dark nights now here, driving can be a daunting experience. Whether youíre driving to work, the shops or travelling to a relativeís home for Christmas ensuring your car is in full working condition is essential. Sometimes though, we forget some of the rules of the road during the colder months; rea...

The All-New Peugeot 5008 SUV Coming Soon To Richard Hardie

The All-New Peugeot 5008 SUV Coming Soon To Richard Hardie

Posted on: 26th Oct 2017

Arriving to Richard Hardie Peugeot Centres in January 2018, the All-New Peugeot 5008 SUV is set to make heads turn with its sharp robust design. If you canít wait till January, Richard Hardie Ashington and Durham are holding exclusive preview events in November. See the bottom of this article to book your appointment!