Smart Motorways - Are They Safe?

Published on 24 August 2020 at 20:03

Smart (or Not so Smart) Motorways

Those of us that undertake a lot of travelling with our dogs, particularly on motorways, might be aware of new so called “smart” motorways.  There are two types, well three if you read some literature;

  1. Is where the hard shoulder is opened to traffic when it is busy;
  2. Is where the hard shoulder is open all of the time (meaning no hard shoulder to pull onto in the event of an emergency!
  3. Is a section of motorway that uses active traffic management techniques to increase capacity by using variable speed limits.

These are seriously under review with the Highways Agency due to the number of accidents, or worse, that are now occurring. 

So what should you do if you do have to stop on a Smart Motorway with no hard shoulder? 

The AA has this advice:

  1. Stop at an emergency refuge area (ERA), motorway service area or leave at the next junction.
  2. If this is not possible, try to get your vehicle off the carriageway.
  3. If you have to stop in a traffic lane, turn on your hazard lights immediately.
  4. If you are in the left-hand lane, and it is safe to do so, get out of the vehicle on the left-hand (passenger) side and wait behind the barrier.
  5. If you can’t get out, or you are in another lane and it is not safe to leave your vehicle, stay in your car with your seatbelt on and dial 999.
  6. If you stop in an emergency refuge area, you must use the SOS phone (located at the site) to contact the Regional Control Centre when you stop, and before you leave.

Where are these Smart Motorways?

As of January 2020 they can be found as follows:

  • M1: Junctions 16-19;23a-25; 28-31; 32-35a and 39-42
  • M3: Junctions 2-4a
  • M5 : Junctions 4a-6; 15-17
  • M6 : Junctions 10a-13 and 16-19
  • M25 ; Junctions 5-7; 23-27
  • M62 : Junctions 25-26

But always check your journey before you travel.

And our dogs?

If you can safely vacate yourselves from the vehicle and move behind a safety barrier TAKE YOUR DOG/S WITH YOU!!  I know, writing in capital letters is a form of shouting, but when I was chatting to an AA recovery man recently he told me how often he has attended incidents and the dog was left in very unsafe locations on the motorway whilst the family sat in safety.  Part of my puppy and adult social training nis always walking along busy roads to get your dogs used to busy traffic and not bolting from your vehicle; both of these I will cover in "In the Classroom" this month. 


Stay safe everyone.

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