Confusion Over Smart Motorways
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Confusion Over Smart Motorways

Confusion Over Smart Motorways
Posted in Car News On By Tim Ridd-Jolly

The RAC is reporting that motorists lack awareness of emergency refuge areas on smart motorways, which is problematic as they become more common...

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The RAC is reporting that motorists lack awareness of emergency refuge areas on smart motorways, which is problematic as they become increasingly common throughout England.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Smart motorways utilise the hard shoulder as an extra running lane for traffic - sometimes permanently, but sometimes just when it's a busy time of the day like in commuting traffic. As the amount of vehicle owners rises, so too does the struggle to keep congestion to a minimum, which is why there is a surge of smart motorways being built to try and keep traffic moving during busy times. Sadly, new research has revealed that half of motorists are not familiar with emergency refuge areas.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1481109360829{background-color: #212121 !important;}"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="4728" img_size="full" css_animation="top-to-bottom"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the RAC study, with more than 2,000 motorists, they found that 52% of those surveyed didn't know what an emergency refuge area on a smart motorway was - a disturbing finding considering the refuge areas are supposed to be a safe haven for broken-down vehicles to stop instead of a hard shoulder. There was also considerable confusion about how to use the emergency refuge areas, with two-thirds of people not knowing what to do after stopping or how to re-join the motorway safely.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

"Existing signage for emergency refuge areas is clear but will be further improved to make it better for everyone"

DAVID BIZLEY - CHIEF ENGINEER, RAC

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Fortunately, there was great awareness of when it was appropriate to stop in an emergency refuge area with 98% of people saying that it should be used in a breakdown situation and 90% saying that they should use it after an accident, but it gets worrying after that point. 40% thought that the emergency refuge area should be used for medical reasons, such as stopping to take medication. 27% thought it was safe to stop in a refuge area for a passenger to be sick. It may still be disconcerting to know that only 1% of those surveyed believed that it was appropriate to use the refuge areas for rest breaks, toilet stops, to make or take phone calls or for changing a baby's nappy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1481109360829{background-color: #212121 !important;}"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="4729" img_size="full" css_animation="top-to-bottom"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Highways England has been running a radio advertising campaign to remind people of the correct use of the areas and is currently conducting a review of them. Three billion pounds is being invested in upgrading existing motorways to smart motorways by 2020 and 472 extra lane miles of capacity has already been added to England's motorways through their implementation. RAC Chief Engineer, David Bizley, said: "It is essential that motorists understand how and when to use an emergency refuge area so they do not put their own safety and that of other road users at risk. Vehicles should pull up to the indicated mark on the tarmac or the emergency telephone and then the occupants should leave the vehicle from the passenger side. Everyone should stand behind the barriers and should use the emergency roadside telephone provided to speak to a Highways England representative."[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
With the increasing amount of smart motorways across England, it's important that you understand how to use emergency refuge areas - click here for RAC's guide to smart motorways.
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