Smart motorways: advice from Highways England

Motorways are getting smarter but it’s still critical for drivers to keep them safe

Driving safely and legally is paramount for every road user.

New technology on sections of the motorway network has enabled Highways England to monitor and manage our busy roads, helping traffic flow more smoothly.

Hard shoulder use

One feature of smart motorways is the ability to open the hard shoulder so that more vehicles can travel with ease temporarily.

If the hard shoulder’s been opened up for use it’ll be clearly indicated with a speed limit displayed above it.

If no speed limit marker’s present above the hard shoulder, or there’s a Red X displayed, this part of the motorway’s for EMERGENCY use only. Always be mindful of other road users and stationary traffic ahead.

Designated emergency areas are marked with an SOS telephone sign. Wherever possible, try to get your vehicle to one of these areas, which provide better protection than other areas of the hard shoulder.

A HGV driver was given five penalty points and a £655 fine when the car he was blocking in on the hard shoulder turned out to be a police car.

Remember, the Highway Code says you mustn’t drive on the hard shoulder except in an emergency or if directed to do so by the police, traffic offers in uniform or by signs.