Smart Motorways. You might love them, you might hate them; you may be completely indifferent to them. No matter how you feel, they are here...
Your Guide To: Smart Motorways Part 2
Last week, we looked at what smart motorways are, how they work, and the different types of smart motorway. This week, we take a closer look at the penalties for failing to adhere to the rules of the smart motorway, and tips on driving safely.
Q4: What fines can I get driving on a smart motorway?
All normal road laws apply while you are driving on a smart motorway, but there are two rules that you need to pay extra vigilance over:
- Speeding. Smart motorways have more cameras than other roads, as well as variable speed limits. This means that you must always remain alert and be aware of the speed limit of your particular lane. Many motorists make the mistake of thinking that the smart cameras placed along the motorway only measure the variable speed limits, when in fact they also measure if you are driving over the national speed limit when there are no speed restrictions in place. With the new speeding fines that are now in place, going over the temporary or national speed limit could bag you a hefty fine, points on your license, or even a ban.
- Ignoring the red X could be extremely dangerous and enforcement is expected to be brought in within the next year. If a lane has an X above it, it means that danger lies ahead and all people in that lane must move safely to another lane. At the moment, there is no automated enforcement for ignoring the X, but camera enforcement will be coming out soon. Offenders may have a fine, points on their license, or be given the opportunity to go on a motorway awareness course.
Q5: I’ve broken down on a smart motorway – help!
If you are unlucky enough to break down or have an accident, put your hazards on immediately. Smart motorways won’t always have a hard shoulder to safely pull onto if you break down. However, they do have Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs). Just look for the blue sign with orange SOS telephone symbol. If you can’t get to an ERA safely, move to the verge if you can. If you manage to get into the nearside lane, exit the vehicle via the passenger (left hand) door and wait behind the safety barrier while you call for help. If you can’t exit your vehicle safely, stay in your vehicle, with your seatbelt on, and call 999.
No matter where you are driving to or from, or how much of a rush you are in, it is important that you adhere to the imposed speed limits; they are there to keep the roads as safe as possible for all users. If you are a nervous or inexperienced driver and you would like help learning to drive on a motorway, get in touch with a local driving instructor, who will be able to offer you tailored motorway driving lessons to increase your confidence and safety, and potentially even reduce the cost of your insurance.