Monday 24 March 2014

Highways Agency – get to know your motorways

Highways Agency - get to know your motorways

Smart Motorways

England’s motor­ways are get­ting smart!

Get smart, know your motorways!

England’s motor­ways are chang­ing. Many now use a range of new tech­nol­ogy to vary speed lim­its in response to dri­ving con­di­tions. These smart motor­ways make the hard shoul­der avail­able to traf­fic. This could be per­ma­nently or at par­tic­u­larly busy times of the day. These smart motor­ways are man­aged by our regional con­trol cen­tres. They use CCTV so that High­ways Agency traf­fic offi­cers can be deployed to inci­dents if they occur and help to keep traf­fic moving.

This leaflet tells you what to expect and how to use a smart motorway:

Dif­fer­ent types of smart motor­way include:

Con­trolled motor­way — Con­trolled motor­ways have three or more lanes with vari­able speed lim­its. The hard shoul­der should only be used in a gen­uine emergency.

Hard shoul­der run­ning — The hard shoul­der will be opened at busy times and the speed limit will be reduced. Do NOT use the hard shoul­der unless over­head signs show that you can do so.

All Lane run­ning — There is no hard shoul­der on these sec­tions of motor­way. Obey vari­able speed lim­its and do not stop on the motor­way. If you need to stop in an emer­gency, use an emer­gency refuge area, motor­way ser­vice area or leave at the next junction.



How to use smart motorways

Red X We use a red X sym­bol to show that a lane is closed because of an inci­dent or some other obstruc­tion. Dri­ving in a lane with a red X sym­bol is dan­ger­ous. You could be prosecuted.
speed limit On smart motor­ways, we adjust speed lim­its dur­ing busy peri­ods to con­trol the flow of vehi­cles and pre­vents traf­fic grind­ing to a halt. The cur­rent speed limit will be dis­played on signs over or at the side of the carriageway.
what you'll see Our regional con­trol cen­tres and the emer­gency ser­vices use CCTV cam­eras to man­age smart motor­ways. In the event of an inci­dent or con­ges­tion, lanes can be closed, speed restric­tions set and appro­pri­ate organ­i­sa­tions can be deployed to the scene to assist.
facts We use over­head infor­ma­tion signs to warn dri­vers about queu­ing ahead and any speed lim­its in force, so that peo­ple can take pre­ven­ta­tive action. We also use signs to pro­vide infor­ma­tion for indi­vid­ual lanes, for exam­ple allow­ing High­ways Agency con­trol cen­tre oper­a­tors to divert traf­fic and close lanes in the event of an incident.
hard shoulder Smart motor­ways can use the hard shoul­der as an extra lane to cre­ate more capac­ity. On some sec­tions there is no hard shoul­der – all lanes are avail­able for use. On these sec­tions, there will be a bro­ken white line between each lane, indi­cat­ing that all lanes have the same sta­tus. Refuge areas are avail­able for emer­gency useIn other areas the hard shoul­der is only opened to traf­fic when things get busy. There will be a solid white line on the road, show­ing that it is a hard shoul­der. Over­head signs will tell you when it is avail­able for use. You MUST NOT use the hard shoul­der if the signs over it are blank or dis­play a red cross except to stop in case of emergency.
your vehicle If you need to stop in an emer­gency on a smart motor­way, use an emer­gency refuge area, motor­way ser­vice area or leave at the next junction.If that is not pos­si­ble try and get your vehi­cle off the car­riage­way, if it is safe to do so. Use the hard shoul­der if it is not open to traf­fic or move onto the verge. Put your haz­ard lights on. Exit the vehi­cle by the left hand door if it safe to do so and wait behind the bar­rier if possible.If you have no choice but to stop in a live lane put your haz­ard warn­ing lights on to help other dri­vers see you and help High­ways Agency con­trol room staff to spot you on CCTV. If you are in the left hand lane and it is safe to do so, exit the vehi­cle via the left hand door. Wait behind the bar­rier if pos­si­ble. If you can­not exit the vehi­cle, do not feel it is safe to do so or there is no other place of rel­a­tive safety, remain in the vehi­cle. Keep your seat belt on and dial ‘999’.As soon as the High­ways Agency is alerted, our regional con­trol cen­tre will use the signs and sig­nals to close lanes in order to pro­tect your vehi­cle until help arrives. We may also close lanes to allow access for emer­gency vehicles.

Fur­ther information