Are you risking your safety by not knowing enough about smart motorways?

Are you risking your safety by not knowing enough about smart motorways?
Are you risking your safety by not knowing enough about smart motorways?

by Ashleigh Crawford

New RAC research has found that more than a fifth of motorists have driven in a lane closed by a red X sign in the past year.

The survey of 2,093 RAC opinion panel members who have driven on a motorway last year confirmed that for 87 per cent of drivers, their first reaction is to move over. However, the remaining 13 per cent say they change lanes as soon as they can, but admit they might pass one or two red X signs before doing so.

Nearly half of those questioned said they frequently see drivers disobeying ‘red X’ smart motorway signs.

‘Tremendous risk of collision’

“Smart motorways are now very much part of the fabric of Britain’s motorway network and will become even more commonplace in years to come,” said RAC spokesman, Simon Williams.

“Red X signs, which denote when lanes are closed, are paramount in safety terms as any stricken driver who has not managed to reach an SOS area is at tremendous risk of being involved in a collision with vehicles that ignore them.”

160,000 warning letters issued

Since 2016, Highways England, Traffic Scotland, Traffic Wales and DFL roads have been working to improve compliance with red X signs and has issued more than 160,000 warning letters to drivers who had either used sections of hard shoulder when not designated as a running lane or had failure to comply with a red X.

In 2017 the Government amended the Road Traffic Offenders Act to enable red X offences to be capture by a remote or automated device, but legislation still has to be completed before the technology can be used in enforcement.

Those surveyed by the RAC were very much in favour of cameras being used to catch people who drive under red X signs, with two-thirds supporting the idea and only a third against it.

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