Why Highways England Wants You To ‘Go Left’

Thu 11th Mar 2021

A major public safety campaign has been launched by Highways England to try and make motorways safer for those who breakdown.

The Go Left initiative aims to give clear advice to drivers as to what to do in an emergency and if they encounter problems with their vehicle. There are 600 breakdowns a day on the UK’s major road networks and a new campaign, set to the tune of the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Go West’ is advising drivers to put their indicators on and head for the hard shoulder if their car breaks down.

“No one plans to break down on a motorway, but if the unexpected happens then I want all motorists to know what to do so that they can keep themselves and others safe,” said Nick Harris, Acting Chief Executive of Highways England.

“Everyone wants a safe journey and raising awareness is a vital part of helping to make sure that happens.

“This new campaign and its ‘Go left’ message is designed to deliver crucial information in an accessible way and to help make motorways safer for the people who use them.

“This campaign is just one of the many steps we are taking to invest in our network with safety as our number one priority, doing everything we can to help drivers feel confident on our motorways.”

The campaign has been launched as part of an 18-point action plan set out by the government last, one area of which was to give the public more confidence in smart motorways.

The Go Left advice has been set out as below

Go left

  • put your left indicator on and move into an emergency area, onto a hard shoulder, motorway service area, left-hand verge or A-road lay-by

  • switch your hazard warning lights on, even during the day. If it’s dark, use side lights and in poor visibility use fog lights as well

  • on a motorway without a hard shoulder, it should be possible for most vehicles experiencing a problem to reach an emergency area. These are regularly spaced and are marked by a clearly visible orange road surface and blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone symbol