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Bolton Instructor

Tel: 07939 089903

 Smart Motorways 

Smart motorway

So what you should know about Smart Motorways?

Smart Motorways use technology to actively manage the flow of traffic on the motorway.


Traffic control centres, can instantly change the speed limits and lane signs on the overhead gantries, when congestion is building up, or when an accident happens ahead.

One of the most important rules to know is that, whenever a red X appears above your lane, you should immediately move out of that lane, as soon as it"s safe to do so.

Smart Motorway

There are three types of Smart Motorway!

1. Controlled.

These motorways all have three or more lanes and a variable speed limit, but the hard shoulder is only to be used in an emergency.

2. All Lane Running.

On these Motorways, drivers can use the hard shoulder as a lane unless otherwise directed by the gantry signs. If a red X appears on the overhead gantries above the hard shoulder, there has most likely been an incident ahead, and the lane may be needed for the exclusive use of the emergency services.


3. Dynamic Hard Shoulder Running.

On this type, you can only use the hard shoulder when directed to do so by the gantry signs,. This opens an extra lane to help ease congestion. However you must not use the hard shoulder if the sign above it is blank or displaying a red X.

Smart Motorway

What should you do if you breakdown?

If it's safe to do so and you are able to keep going its best to continue and  then leave the motorway at the next exit.


But if it's not possible, and your vehicle starts to have problems, or you breakdown or have an accident, there are Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA’s) placed at regular intervals along smart motorways.


They are indicated by blue signs with an orange SOS & telephone symbol.

If a problem with your car or passengers will not allow you time to reach an ERA, move as close to the verge as possible.


Put on your hazards lights and call 999 immediately. Highways England will then switch on the red ‘X above the lane you’re stuck in, to ensure that traffic behind you doesn’t use it.


If it’s possible, it’s safer to get out of the car on the passenger side and climb over the crash barrier.


Then use the SOS telephone provided to contact Highways England. They will decide how best to handle your situation and provide advice to keep you as safe as possible.

Once your issue has been resolved (if thats possible), you should call Highways England again. Why?


Because instead of struggling to get back on to the motorway, and risking being hit by fast-moving vehicles, the agency will slow down traffic coming from behind you by displaying a red X on the nearside running lane so that you can you safely re join the traffic flow.

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