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Smart Motorways

(32 Posts)
Mollygo Tue 19-Jan-21 13:26:34

It’s on the news today that they’re reviewing their use. DD and SIL risk their lives driving to work on one every day and as DD said last night, “There’s nowhere to go if something goes wrong. The refuges are too far apart.
Any one else with experience?

JenniferEccles Tue 19-Jan-21 13:36:49

I hate ‘smart’ motorways. I am staggered it was ever thought that it would be a good idea to turn much needed hard shoulders into live lanes.

Although there are small lay-bys, cars don’t always conveniently break down near one, and if someone manages to get the car going again, the lay-bys are far too short to enable drivers to build up sufficient speed to rejoin fast moving traffic.

Then there’s the problem of how do emergency services get to a stranded vehicle?

Surely it’s only a matter of time before they are deemed unsafe.

Kate1949 Tue 19-Jan-21 13:38:09

Our teenage granddaughter had a terrible experience on one of these. She was driving alone and she had a tyre blowout. There was smoke coming from her car and she panicked.
She managed to get through to her parents who told her to try to get to the inside lane and get out of the car.
She managed to do this and got onto the bank where she stood terrified and shivering with traffic zooming past until help arrived.
Those motorways are dangerous.

ginny Tue 19-Jan-21 13:40:03

I can’t imagine why anyone ever thought they were a good idea.

lemongrove Tue 19-Jan-21 13:42:46

Good post Jennifer and I agree, we are just talking about this now at home, as there is a news item about two men being killed because of a lack of hard shoulder.It was a terrible idea, just awful and should be overturned as soon as possible.Safety lanes are there for a reason!

EllanVannin Tue 19-Jan-21 13:48:04

The most ridiculous and highly dangerous of " inventions ".

LullyDully Tue 19-Jan-21 13:54:38

Idiotic madness. What is the rational behind such a daft notion.?

Greyduster Tue 19-Jan-21 13:58:23

They were exposed as being extremely dangerous not long after they were instituted and thirty eight people have been killed as a result of not being able to get to a refuge area. They were rolled out on the M42 where refuge areas were six hundred meters apart, but on most motorways now they are at least two miles apart. They are terrifying.

J52 Tue 19-Jan-21 14:03:20

I agree that they are a ridiculous idea, with no regard for safety, which is unbelievable in an age where there is such an emphasis on health and safety.
In normal times I would travel up the M1 and M6 at least twice a month. Although I’m very aware on the stretches with no hard shoulder, I try not to over think it. I have noted the bits that don’t have a ‘safety’ barrier along the side, so at least there would be a verge to get onto.

SueDonim Tue 19-Jan-21 15:08:05

They are terrifying if you have the misfortune to be in a car on the M6, hemmed in by huge lorries all around. I hope something is done about them.

Sarnia Tue 19-Jan-21 15:21:36

Death traps. How much money has been wasted on yet another ill-considered Government project?

sodapop Tue 19-Jan-21 15:28:21

Exactly what Sarnia said. Ill conceived and so dangerous

GrandmaKT Tue 19-Jan-21 15:35:31

As others have said, such a dangerous and ridiculous idea. How can it ever have been approved and implemented.
I also don't think there has been nearly enough (any?) public information about how to use them - i.e. that if there is a red cross above the lane you must stop immediately or get out of the lane if possible.

M0nica Tue 19-Jan-21 16:07:31

Madness, is the only word to describe them. When we drive on the motorways, which in normal times is quite regularly, we will never go into those lanes, only if they are leading to slip roads and even then we delay entering them until theblast possible moment.

What infuriated me today was the response from the Dept of Transport. I quote ' It was already considewring many of the points raised at the inqueast in a plan published in March last year........ We will carefully consider any further comments raised by the coroner once we receiv the report'

Or in other words they have had a year to consider the issue, during which they have done f*ck all and they are delighted that another coroner is making a report because it means they can continue to ignore these issues even longer, as they have no intention of taking any notice of what anybody says, they have made up our minds and are not interested in the facts on this issue.

Mollygo Tue 19-Jan-21 16:20:56

Monica, you were watching the program that prompted my question.
“We will consider points raised by the coroner” = someone dying might make a difference, but ‘I’m still considering’.
Refuge areas in 2013 were 1.5 miles apart and in 2018 they were saying they’d reduce that to a mile -‘where practicable’. Does practicable relate to finance, personal opinion, or willingness to give up on a bad idea. Whose car breaks down by a conveniently place refuge?

Greeneyedgirl Tue 19-Jan-21 16:34:12

There was a Panorama programme in January last year about the danger and deaths on Smart Motorways, and as far as I can discern these types of motorways were still being rolled out as late as Autumn last year.

This simplistic solution to motorway congestion, which has caused at least 38 deaths, and very many near misses, in the last 6 years is madness. It is acknowledged to be dangerous to stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway, it is suicidal on a smart one.

grannysyb Tue 19-Jan-21 16:35:35

I drove up the M1 last week to a family funeral, they were installing a"smart motorway". I said to DH that I would be avoiding them as much as possible in the future, goodness knows who thought that they were a good idea, they have blood on their hands.

Ladyleftfieldlover Tue 19-Jan-21 16:42:22

Smart motorways! Not. In normal times I drive regularly on the M4 from junction 14 to junction 2. A smart motorway is being constructed from junction 12. I was driving back with my OH and just after junction 3, I developed a migraine. He needed to take over driving. Luckily the hard shoulder hadn’t quite run out. If my migraine had developed a few minutes later I think I would have had to drive around 20 miles before I could pull off, nightmare.

Deedaa Tue 19-Jan-21 20:01:20

The motorway I use most is the M3. There's a stretch of smart motorway where I join it, but fortunately it's only a short stretch and I just cross my fingers. Apart from that I try to avoid them altogether. Even DD, who is a much more intrepid driver than me, is very unhappy on them.

JenniferEccles Tue 19-Jan-21 22:42:57

There are two near me, the M3 and M4, both of which have parts converted to the inappropriate name of ‘smart’ motorways.

When we travel on them my instinct is to avoid being in the inside lane in case a bit further ahead there may be a broken down vehicle with traffic hurtling towards it unable to brake until it’s too late.

Under the circumstances I think it’s pretty amazing that there haven’t been more fatalities on these awful roads.

Teacheranne Tue 19-Jan-21 22:56:45

I used to use the M42 quite happily, the safety refuges were much closer together than on newer smart motorways and the “hard shoulder” was only opened in rush hour for those leaving at the next exit. I was horrified when I went on the section of the M6 between Knutsford and Holmes Chapel to realise that safety refuges were much further apart and the extra lane was open all the time, like a fourth lane. So no wintry to avoid them especially in the dark.

Teacheranne Tue 19-Jan-21 22:59:35


There are two near me, the M3 and M4, both of which have parts converted to the inappropriate name of ‘smart’ motorways.

When we travel on them my instinct is to avoid being in the inside lane in case a bit further ahead there may be a broken down vehicle with traffic hurtling towards it unable to brake until it’s too late.

Under the circumstances I think it’s pretty amazing that there haven’t been more fatalities on these awful roads.

That’s what I was thinking JenniferEccles until I realised that if I was in the lane next to the inner one, cars might swerve into me without warning if they see a broken down car in front of them! Maybe I should go in the old middle lane but then I’d possibly be holding up the traffic !

Mollygo Tue 19-Jan-21 23:44:55

A nice easy way to stop the worry would be to keep the inside lane closed. Smart motorways have gantries above them.
X means lane closed -so technically, a hard shoulder.
They are converting the M27- speed is limited to 50mph at the moment so it’s not too bad in this dark, wet and wintry weather, but once it goes up to 70 again😱!

Chestnut Tue 19-Jan-21 23:58:17

I started a thread about this a while back and there is a petition to scrap smart motorways which is still going. You can still sign so don't hesitate!
Scrap Smart Motorways link here

EkwaNimitee Wed 20-Jan-21 16:23:29

Does anyone who uses them think they're a good idea? It seems no one here. My late DH and I thought they were a stupidly dangerous idea from the time they first came in. We felt very vulnerable towing our caravan on them, which we did a lot.