British Drivers Still Don’t Understand Smart Motorways

Mon 16th Jul 2018

The UK’s first smart motorway was launched in 2006, and we are seeing more and more introduced every year, but Britain’s drivers are still unsure of how to drive on them according to a new survey.

The research, which was conducted by Europcar UK, revealed that almost 60 per cent of drivers are unsure what to do when driving on the hard shoulder of a smart motorway, and two in five drivers surveyed were unsure of how the speed limit worked if the hard shoulder was activated for use.

Gary Smith, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group, said: “When driving over the summer, whether in their own car or a rental vehicle, it is vital that motorists understand how Smart Motorways should be used, especially if driving on unfamiliar roads.

“As Smart Motorways become more common, it’s worth holidaymakers taking the time to research any that they may need to use to get to their destination to avoid falling foul of any potential traffic offences.

"Familiarity is bound to be key to helping motorists understand the rules that apply to Smart Motorways.

"Those that answered incorrectly may not have many Smart Motorways near where they live, so have little practice using them.

"If this is the case, anybody who is planning a long drive this summer should make an effort to understand how these Motorways function before they hit the road.

“Driving a reliable and well maintained vehicle, with roadside assistance, is also important for peace of mind when embarking on a long journey."

Smart motorways were introduced to manage the flow of cars via live monitoring systems and often introduce variable speed limits dependent on the traffic. Sometimes the hard shoulder is made available for drivers but with UK motorists unsure of the rules they could be leaving themselves open to a fine. With more and more smart motorways being opened in Britain, drivers are being encouraged to consult the Highway Code to refresh themselves of the rules.