Smart Motorways

Smart Motorways

You have probably noticed motorways within the UK are now being turned in to smart motorways these parts of the motorway use technology to help keep the traffic moving by changing signs that can close lanes and have variable speed limits to help keep the flow of traffic moving smoothly.

smart motorway




Types of Motorway:

  • Dynamic hard Shoulder – This becomes a temporary extra lane during busy periods to help make traffic flow.
  • All Lane Running – where the full width of the road is used for traffic with emergency refuge areas.
  • Controlled Motorway – with three or more lanes, a hard shoulder and variable speed limits.

The pros and Cons

There is a debate whether Smart Motorways increase safety or put drivers at more risk.


Increasing traffic flow

The obvious way to increase traffic flow is to add lanes. So you either build them, at great expense, or you convert existing space that’s not in use to a running lane.

Savings money and the environment

The conversion of hard shoulders reduces expenditure on new lanes. That’s a saving made by the taxpayer, who would have footed the bill.


All-lanes-running casualties

Recent spates of casualties, crashes and near-misses involving stranded vehicles on all-lanes-running stretches have cast a shadow on the smart motorway idea.

Emergency refuge areas

Which leads us into the emergency refuge area point. The consensus is that we need more of them, so that fewer people stop in-lane.

Smart Motorway Tips

  • Never drive in a lane closed by a Red X as this lane could be closed because of a accident or broken down vehicle.
  • Keep to the speed limits shown on the signs as most of the smart motorways have speed cameras.
  • A hard shoulder is always identified by a solid white unbroken line – if there’s no speed limit displayed above it or a Red X is displayed, do not use it.
  • If the hard shoulder is being used as an extra lane, remember to use the designated emergency refuge areas for emergencies.
  • If your vehicle experiences difficulties, eg warning light, if possible exit the motorway immediately or a emergency refuge area.
  • If you do break down then put your hazard lights on to warn other motorists and highway patrol officers when passing
  • Most breakdowns are preventable – make sure to check your tyres have no defects, if at nighttime that all your lights are working properly and that you have enough fuel for your journey.


For motorway lessons please enquire at: https://www.smartlearner.com/driving-lessons/

For more information on Smart Motorways please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway

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