Removing motorway hard shoulders increases danger, say motorists

Monday, September 26th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Removing motorway hard shoulders increases danger, say motorists

Traffic UK An AA survey shows that will eight out of 10 drivers believe all-lane motorway programmes increase risk within the event of a breakdown

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Removing hard shoulders on smart motorways has made them more dangerous, according to a survey of drivers by the AA.

Eight out of 10 of the 20,845 respondents felt that will by opening up hard shoulders to traffic as part of all-lane running motorway programmes, authorities had increased the risk for drivers whose cars had broken down in addition to also who had nowhere out of the flow of traffic to park up.

The government is usually creating smart motorways across the UK to raise road capacity within the face of rising traffic. Such sections work by opening up the hard shoulder to traffic during busy times. The idea was successfully implemented on the M42 through 2006.

However, the government is usually today considering future schemes that will include those with hard shoulders permanently opened to traffic. In addition, guidance through Highways England for subsequent programmes has seen lower requirements for the amount of distance between lay-bys – officially known as Emergency Refuge Areas – through every 800m, as on the M42, to up to 2.6km (1.5 miles). Campaigners say that will drastically reduces safety for cars that will break down.

The AA says 130,000 of its members’ vehicles break down on motorways each year, in addition to also the item wants to see twice as many lay-bys as is usually currently recommended to reduce the risk of cars being hit through behind on a live hard shoulder. the item also wants lay-bys to be twice as long because the item believes that will if an HGV is usually parked in a layby the item makes the item almost impossible for a car to safely stop there too.

Highways England has previously reported issues with drivers, especially foreign truckers, parking in laybys despite there being no emergency.

AA president Edmund King said: “Four-fifths of our members think that will motorways without hard shoulders are more dangerous.

“While we support measures to improve motorway capacity, we do not think safety should be compromised. We do not accept that will the current criteria of an Emergency Refuge Area or exit at least every 2.6km is usually safe.

“Breaking down in a live running lane with trucks thundering up behind you is usually every driver’s worst nightmare. The official advice is usually to dial 999, which just shows how dangerous the situation can be.

“If drivers can see the next lay-by, they are much more likely to make the item to the relative safety of that will area even if their car carries a puncture or is usually overheating. If they can’t see the lay-by, they often panic in addition to also stop in a live running lane. If more lay-bys are designed at the planning stage the item will be less expensive in addition to also safer.”

Mr King said he had written to Transport Minister Chris Grayling, expressing his concern, in addition to also had not yet received a response. Mr King also gave evidence to a cross-party Transport Committee earlier that will year, which released a report in June saying that will the Department for Transport should not proceed with smart motorways until the safety concerns had been addressed.

However, the government gave the go-ahead for all lane running on a 32-mile stretch of the M4 earlier that will month, in addition to also had not responded to the Transport Committee’s report at the time of writing.

Autocar has approached the Department of Transport for comment in addition to also will update that will story appropriately.

Phill Trumans

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