Drivers no longer need hard shoulders, says Highways England

Improved vehicle reliability among reasons behind bold claim

Drivers no longer need hard shoulders, says Highways England
Image: Bigstock.

With smart motorways improving the flow of traffic by removing hard shoulders, Matt Pates, who manages the East Midlands division of Highways England, claimed that both the reliability of modern vehicles and the improved safety of motorways means that emergency lanes are now effectively redundant.

Mr Pates added that most drivers now receive sufficient warning in the event of a vehicle fault, adding that motorways are “as safe, if not safer” without hard shoulders which are not “hospitable” places for stranded motorists.

Hard shoulders are currently used as regular driving lanes on 113 miles of motorway in England, with approximately 400 miles of motorway having been converted to a ‘smart motorway’.

Employing the use of technology to adapt speed limits based on current traffic conditions, sensors are installed under the road surface of smart motorways, which, along with a ‘side-fire’ radar and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, assess the volume and speed of vehicles and adjust the speed limits accordingly.

A Highways England spokesperson commented: “Smart motorways are good for drivers.

“They add extra lanes, giving extra space, so more people can travel.

“They use technology which makes journeys more reliable and evidence proves they are as safe as traditional motorways.”

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Home Page Forums Drivers no longer need hard shoulders, says Highways England

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #181187 Reply
    Eddie Bamber

    Is this man deluded ?. Vehicles may be mire reliable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get punctures, run out of fuel or overheat. I’ve seen it all as a breakdown Patrol for over 30 years. Hard shoulders are not the safest of places, but I’d rather be on one of them than in a live lane. Motorists often ignore the lane closed signs. Hard shoulders were put there for a reason. Perhaps Mr Pates might change his mind if he broke down on a ‘smart’ motorway.

    #181190 Reply
    Stuart down

    🤣 is this a highways England bubble what a complete moron, or maybe it was my imagination when I saw 4 breakdowns on the m25 across just 3 junctions at the weekend

    #181250 Reply
    Peter Miles

    Madness. I’ve never made a reasonable M way journey without seeing at least one vehicle on the hard shoulder and, especially at holiday times, usually many!

    #181970 Reply
    Clare Cox

    What an arrogant, narrow minded view!!! Smart roads and smart vehicles cannot prevent a puncture, a blowout on a lorry, and nor can they prevent an accident! How does this person expect ambulance, police and fire service to reach the scene of an RTC, multiple pile up, overturned lorry or caravan, causing miles of tailbacks, if there is no hard shoulder? Lives will be lost!!

    #182099 Reply

    Nothing Smart about a Smart motorway.

    Its dumb & dumber.

    #182264 Reply

    The man is a complete moron who I suspect only ever drives a desk.

    #182425 Reply
    Andrew MacCredie

    Im Sorry but what complete rubbish.

    What happens when there is an accident and the emergency services need to get through?? What happens when people get punctures and run out of fuel? (More common now with electric vehicles) I have seen first hand vehicles smashed up on the carriageway because there is no where to go. Hard shoulders may be inhospitable but they are somewhat safer than a live carriageway!

    #182650 Reply
    Nick Smith

    Vehicles maybe more reliable but unfortunately drivers are not. Hard shoulders are not redundant places, I drive up and down the motorway most days and there is always someone stranded at the roadside.

    Also there are always the unexpected breakdowns, lack of fuel, puncture etc.

    Smart motorways are neither smart, nor do they ease congestion, if anything then make the problem worse.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)


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