April 21, 2024

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The Ultimate Driving Machines

New smart motorways see rise in serious collisions

smart motorway

Some lately upgraded sensible motorways have viewed a increase in really serious collisions because getting concluded.

A recently revealed report from Highways England masking 8 new sensible motorways shows that four observed really serious collisions go up in their 1st calendar year because getting concluded.

Stretches of road that observed rises in really serious collisions – which Highways England describes as “one in which at the very least one particular man or woman is significantly wounded but no man or woman (other than a confirmed suicide) is killed” – contain the M25 (junctions five to seven and 23 to 27), the M1 (junctions 39 to 42), the M6 (junctions 10A to 13)

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In spite of this, fatal collisions lowered on 6 of the 8 sensible motorways, as did slight collisions. Lethal collisions remained at zero on one particular road.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roadways plan at the RAC, known as the figures “very concerning”, telling the New Civil Engineer, which analysed the report: “The findings won’t be a surprise to the vast majority of drivers who consider the removing of the tricky shoulder compromises protection in the function of a breakdown.”

Smart motorways: breakdowns cause a month’s well worth of lane closures

The information that dymanic sensible motorways will be shut down comes just after analysis found that broken-down automobiles triggered sensible motorway lanes to be shut for more than a month over a two-calendar year period.

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From August 2017 to October 2019, motorway lanes have been shut for 945 several hours – equal to 39 times – concerning Junction 2 and Junction 4a of the M3 because of to automobiles breaking down in a reside lane, in accordance to a Flexibility of Details ask for to Highways England made by the AA.

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There have been a whole of 2,227 breakdowns on the stretch of all-lane functioning (ALR) sensible motorways during the two-calendar year period, with just about every one particular closing a lane for an ordinary of 25 minutes.

About the identical period, there have been 318 several hours of delays triggered by 271 site visitors collisions, with lanes getting shut for an ordinary of one particular hour and ten minutes just about every time.

Other concerns – together with obstructions, infrastructure problems and fires – contributed to a whole of 2,802 incidents over the two-calendar year period and observed motorway lanes close for a whole of 1,451 several hours – or sixty times.

Incident form

Variety of incidents

Full time shut (several hours:minutes.seconds)

Average closure time for every incident (several hours:minutes.seconds)





Targeted traffic collision






67:fifty two.ten



eighty four



Infrastructure defect



02:forty three.30



forty five:forty five.36

02:fifty one.02

Animal on network




Deserted motor vehicle



00:fifty two.ten

Pedestrian on network



00:19.fifty one





Suicide/tried suicide




Temperature situations








Increasing protection was not a “primary goal” for sensible motorways, documents reveal

Increasing road protection was not a “primary purpose” when sensible motorways have been 1st introduced, in accordance to a report manufactured in 2012 by the Highways Agency – Highways England’s predecessor – which viewed as the provision of extra unexpected emergency refuge places (ERAs) surrounding a fatality hotspot on the M1 north of Nottingham.

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The document mentioned: “The primary goals for the plan do not contain enhancing protection and the road consumer protection objective is to ensure that the plan is no considerably less safe and sound than the protection baseline.”

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The AA, which uncovered the document, criticised this purpose for getting “unambitious and complacent”.

The report shows the Highways Agency understood there was a chance that the variety of automobiles stopping in reside lanes would boost, and set out two possibilities to mitigate this. The 1st would have viewed the variety of ERAs on the stretch of road greater from 8 to ten and an ordinary spacing of 1,543 metres, at a price of concerning £0.35m and £0.7m.

The 2nd alternative was to boost the variety of ERAs to 14 and an ordinary spacing of 1,304 metres, costing £1m to £2m. The report stated possibly of these possibilities would end result in a “small net lower in chance to road users”, but in spite of this no motion was taken.

With an ordinary of 2,500 metres spacing, the Highways Agency estimated concerning 25.99 for every cent and 26.1 for every cent breakdowns would happen in reside lanes in reality, the present-day fee on these kinds of stretches is as higher as 38 for every cent.

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In accordance to the AA, there have been five fatalities on the 16-mile stretch of the M1 concerning junctions 30 and 35a from September 2018 to December 2019.

Exclusive: Smart motorway velocity cameras offer you sixty-2nd grace period

Drivers applying sensible motorways have sixty seconds to lessen their velocity just after a reduction in the variable velocity restrict is exhibited on the overhead gantries, Vehicle Specific can reveal. Just after the one particular-moment grace period, velocity cameras get started enforcement at the new signposted restrict.

Responding to a Flexibility of Details (FoI) ask for, Highways England – the Authorities-owned company that operates England’s Strategic Highway Network of motorways and main A roadways – confirmed that drivers are supplied a one particular-moment grace period.

“Following a change in the velocity exhibited by signals there is a sixty-2nd ‘grace period’ ahead of HADECS3 cameras get started enforcement, giving time for drivers to adapt to the new required velocity restrict, especially when velocity restrictions are diminished because of to gradual-moving or queuing site visitors up ahead,” the organisation stated. “This presents drivers time to gradual down and cuts down the will need for braking sharply.”

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Smart motorways have a default velocity restrict of 70mph, but Highways England is capable to reduce the restrict to sixty, fifty or 40mph when operatives deem it important. When this happens, the new restrict is exhibited on overhead gantries and enforced by HADECS3 velocity cameras, occasionally referred to colloquially as “stealth” cameras because of to their getting tiny, gray units that are a great deal more durable to location than that greater yellow Gatso and Truvelo cameras applied in other places.

Smart motorways: breakdown restoration companies won’t prevent for automobiles in shut ‘red X’ lanes

Restoration companies are not permitted to prevent and help motorists whose automobiles have broken down on sensible motorway lanes that have been shut with ‘red X’ indications. As a substitute, personnel from companies like the AA, Eco-friendly Flag and RAC ought to wait around for police or Highways England automobiles to bodily close the lane or tow the motor vehicle to a refuge region, in accordance to formal assistance.

The ‘best apply guidelines’ from the Endure Group – formed of senior police officers, Highways England and all main restoration companies – says breakdown operatives need to “Never operate in a reside lane of a motorway lane until the lane has been shut by a Police motor vehicle, HE [Highways England] Targeted traffic Officer motor vehicle or Influence Defense Motor vehicle…Do not count on a red X closure indicator.”

Though it is illegal to generate in shut ‘red X’ lanes, one hundred eighty,000 drivers obtained warning letters in the 18 months concerning 2017 and summertime 2018 for the offence – which is now enforced by cameras and effects in a few penalty points and a £100 good. 

The information follows a damning Highways England report getting unearthed by the AA, which identified breaking down in the reside lane of a sensible motorway during off-peak several hours is 216 for every cent more hazardous than accomplishing so on a traditional motorway.

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