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“Smart” motorways need NEW Highway Code

Published on Tuesday 19 December 2017 in Van News

“Smart” motorways need NEW Highway Code

79% of drivers say motorways are more dangerous than 4 years ago…

The Highway Code defines motorways as having three lanes of traffic with a continuous hard shoulder…but ever since motorways have widened and "Smart" motorways have appeared, the Code is starting to look a little out of touch and in need of an update. What will this mean for van drivers? Vanarama's Tom Roberts reports.

Following a series of serious incidents on the roads, the AA has written a letter to Jesse Norman MP, Road Safety Minister, to see what they call "life-saving changes" to the UK's Highway Code – placing special focus on our motorways.


Why do we need a new Highway Code?

Right now, the Highway Code defines motorways as three lanes of traffic with a continuous hard shoulder – but that definition has been blown out of the water by three types of "Smart" motorways that now exist alongside the traditional motorway. These are:

  • Carriageways where the flow of traffic is managed by adapting speeds and enforced by speed cameras (Controlled Motorways).
  • The hard shoulder only being used at peak times (Dynamic Hard Shoulder).
  • No hard shoulder with Emergency Refuge Areas spaced every 2.5km apart (All Lane Running).

The AA's bug bear is that with more than 500 miles of "Smart" motorway already live, and with more coming, the Highway Code doesn't advise drivers about what they're supposed to do if they break down on the new types of motorway.


What else is needed according to the AA?

The AA has also said we need two more things alongside an update to the Code. They are:

  • A rule that would force drivers to create a corridor of free lane space for emergency vehicles on motorways.
  • A new "slow down and move over" rule when passing broken down vehicles on motorways.


What do you think about the proposed changes to the Highway Code? And how about "Smart" motorways – what do they do to your travels? Let us know in the comments below or on the post you came here by.