How can I tell if a highway is smart and where they are near me? Here’s how to protect yourself from an outage

YOU may get a shock when you drive on a smart highway for the first time and have to reevaluate the highway code.

Since the concept’s introduction in 2006, the technology-driven thoroughfares have been the subject of controversy.

Smart highways could be thrown into chaos this weekend due to an outage of warning signs


Smart highways could be thrown into chaos this weekend due to an outage of warning signsCredit: Alamy

But Brits could be at risk if traveling with them this weekend as an outbreak of warning signs could spell chaos.

Overhead signs protecting stranded drivers will be out of service across the motorway network as part of a planned outage.

Whistleblowers on National Highways have warned broken motorists could be left behind as “sitting ducks”.

The outage will affect stretches of motorway in Yorkshire, the North East, North West, Midlands and South West.

They use modern methods to regulate the flow of traffic, but this often means they lack an important safety feature.

Intelligent highways increase the number of lanes available by eliminating hard shoulders.

But after a spate of deaths and accidents without motorists’ trusted recourse, the government has pumped the brakes for a nationwide rollout by 2025.

Statistics released by the Bureau of Rail and Roads in December warned that fewer than 60 percent of stationary vehicles were detected on the new roads.

Transport Committee Chair Iain Stewart described the figure as “appalling” and “deeply concerning”.

“When cars, buses and trucks are traveling at speeds of up to 110 km/h and there is no hard shoulder, every second counts,” he said.

A state investigation found that at least 24 drivers or passengers have died with a breakdown since 2015.

What is a smart highway?

There are three types of intelligent motorways in the UK – All Lane Running (ARL), controlled and dynamic hard shoulders.

As the name suggests, ARL refers to sections of the new roads where all lanes are open, meaning they have no hard shoulder.

Instead, they use specially designed emergency refuge zones for motorists who get into trouble.

If there is a breakdown or an incident in one of the lanes, signs above the lane will alert drivers that the lane is closed.

Controlled stretches of highway use technology to manage the flow of traffic during rush hours that have at least three lanes.

Operators can vary the speed limit – with illuminated signs on overhead bridges – with the aim of reducing the frustrating stop-and-go driving conditions that often occur on regular roads.

They also activate warning signs – to alert you to traffic jams and dangers ahead – and close lanes to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Variable speed limits are enforced with automatic cameras running 24 hours a day, even when the limit is 70 miles per hour.

Smart highways can also increase on-road capacity by opening hard shoulders at peak times.

These dynamic hard shoulder sections are operated by Highways England, a state-owned company.

According to the study, congestion on the motorways and major road networks in England costs an estimated £2 billion each year, with 25 per cent of this being due to incidents.

Where are they near me?

Following the success of the first Smart Motorway program on the M42, the UK can now boast over 236 miles of new roads.

Most of them are in the South East and close to Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Here is a summary of the existing smart motorways in the UK:

  • M1: J6A-J10, J23A-J24, J25-J28 and J31-J32
  • M6: J10A-J11A
  • M8: J7-8, J8-10 (eastbound)
  • M9: J1-J1A (Southbound)
  • M20: J5-J7
  • M25: J2-J3, J6-J7 (counterclockwise), J7-J23 and J27-J30
  • M40: J16-M42, J3A (Northbound)
  • M42: J3-J3A (east), J7-J9
  • M60: J8-J18
  • M62: J9-J10 (east) and J28-J29
  • M73: J1-J2, J2-J2A (Southbound)
  • M74: J2A-J5
  • M90: M9 J1A-J2 and J2-J3 (Southbound)
  • A90: Special road between the M90 ​​in South Queensferry
  • A14: J22-J33
  • A1: Where it connects to the new A14
  • A470: A648-M4 J32 (southbound)

How do I stay safe on smart highways?

according to a RAC survey68 per cent of Britons believe removing the hard shoulder will affect safety.

All the normal rules of the road apply when driving on smart highways, but there are a few extra things to consider.

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Highways England offers the following advice on driving on a smart motorway:

  • Never drive under a red ‘X’ – you could be fined £60 and three penalty points
  • Obey the speed limit posted on the bridges
  • A solid white line indicates the hard shoulder – do not ride on it unless instructed to do so
  • A broken white line indicates a normal trajectory
  • Use the retreat areas for emergencies when there is no hard shoulder
  • Switch on your hazard lights if you break down
  • If your vehicle encounters difficulties, e.g. B. a warning light, exit the intelligent highway as soon as possible and find a relatively safe place to stop How can I tell if a highway is smart and where they are near me? Here’s how to protect yourself from an outage

Fry Electronics Team

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