New Smart Motorway Rules

Beware the new Smart Motorway rules

You’ve probably seen the new Smart Motorways popping up around the country. Road improvements that seem to be taking forever have been underway around Gatwick Airport on the M23, parts of the M25 have suffered delays due to work, Motorways around Birmingham have seen improvements as well as Manchester and the M1 North. It’s been a huge undertaking and is continuing still.

The new Smart Motorways use technology such as CCTV, sensors and electronic signs to monitor and control traffic, vary speed limits and close lanes in order to sooth traffic flow. Dynamic hard shoulder schemes open up the hard shoulders to take pressure off at busy times. The technology is said to improve journey times and improve driver safety. Warning signs are activated above the lanes to alert drivers to upcoming hazards or traffic jams, open or closed lanes.

New Law

On the 10th June the rules on smart motorways changed. The new rule states that any motorist driving in a closed lane marked with a red ‘X’ could be fined up to £100. Lane closures happen for a variety of reasons including emergency service access, breakdowns and accidents. Drivers are given plenty of notice with the red ‘X’ sign and variable speed limit signs shown above each lane. So using a lane marked with the ‘X’ is not only illegal but could be dangerous.

Other rules for driving on Smart Motorways
  • Keep to the variable speed limits – better technology means you’re more likely to be caught out!
  • Keep left – this applies to all motorway driving, not just Smart Motorway
  • A solid white line indicates a hard shoulder and should not be driven in
  • A broken white line shows that it is a normal lane
  • Do not drive in the hard shoulder unless the sign above states

If you have any concerns or if this affects your case please contact us on 01926 886007 or contact us here. And safe driving folks

Revving up for the Electric Car

The electric car has increased in popularity over the years. With improvements to infrastructure, eg charging stations, and developments in technology, the electric car has become a viable choice for drivers wishing to reduce their carbon emissions. In fact, with some manufacturers opting to only produce hybrid or electric cars, they are likely to be the ONLY option in the not too distant future.

An electric car’s engine is not only cleaner but also a lot quieter. If fact, the sound emitted from an electric vehicle traveling below 12mph is almost zero.

But as from the 1st July 2019, all cars made in the EU will be required to have fake vehicle sounds added to them. This comes about as a result of campaigns and research by charities such as the RNIB and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Campaigners have been concerned about the safety of other road users, pedestrians and cyclists, and especially those with visual impairments.  A lot of our road awareness comes from listening (who remember stop, look and listen?) and due to the fact an electric car is almost silent, campaigners urged the manufacturers to make changes and add the fake vehicle sounds, or Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAs). The car must emit a sound of at least 56 decibels, which is similar to the sound of a normal conversation between a group of people.

It will take time to see if this change does work as hoped. The initiative has already been adopted in the United States and Norway, where further studies are already underway as to the success of the AVAs.