Just how smart are these "smart motorways" with no hard shoulder for a stranded vehicle?

Many drivers feel very uncertain over using the nearside lane on so called "smart motorways" - but what do you do to avoid possible dangers that could develop if a stranded car is ahead in the nearside lane with no hard should upon which it could
escape?

Some drivers have chosen not to use the nearside lane on smart motorways even though they do not approve of so called CLODS on normal motorways ("centre lane owner drivers") hogging that lane. From the second or third lane the driver's view ahead is wider so a breakdown in the nearside lane can be spotted more readily and much sooner.

Red Warning Triangles & Hi Vis Vests are available at Halfords. See alongside.

Be Seen Screen
Helping you to be seen in a roadside emergency. They are bright and reflective. There are tabs with a sucker in each corner of the screen to fix it to the back of the stranded vehicle. The Be Seen Screen means that you don't have to walk back 45 metres (147 ft) on the side of the road to place a red warning triangle.
£45.95 including VAT with 20% off for readers of their advert in the November 2021 issue of Safety Fast!
www.be-seen-screen-co.uk


Posted: 211115
Many drivers feel very uncertain over using the nearside lane on so called smart motorways
The prospect of their seeing a stranded vehicle in the nearside lane ahead of them and needing to make a rapid decision to brake and then look behind to make another rapid decision on whether to continue hard braking or making a move out into the second lane is a concern many drivers have reflected upon. That urgent process also includes glancing behind to assess the danger of vehicles piling into you as you slow down to a halt behind the stranded vehicle ahead or whether you can escape into that second lane. By any standard those decisions, probably made in less than 5 to 10 seconds, will be vital for your safety - and quite likely heart stopping too!

Yes modern technology monitoring the lanes on that section of smart motorway may have posted prompt Red X alerts on overhead gantries closing the nearside lane, but it will take time for drivers to see those alerts and respond by slowing down very rapidly. That initial period is the danger zone. Just how smart are they? (Get Surrey)
Leaving a stranded vehicle by the nearside door and leaping over the side barrier and getting well away into the scrub alongside the motorway is an option but only if there are no vehicles close behind you. But remember if the traffic was being speed controlled at say 60mph then the vehicles behind will be closing on a stranded vehicle at 88 ft/second - that's 29 yards a second. Assuming it might take 10 seconds to make a decision and rapidly exit a car via the nearside door, that would need a vehicle to be at least about 300 yards behind you to give you time for the escape. If it is closer then remaining strapped in your vehicle will be the less dangerous option in most cases.

If you can make it to a layby on a smart motorway then using your emergency flashers and any signage indicating a breakdown will be wise - plus getting out of the vehicle and well away from the barrier. Remember if vehicles crash into metal roadside barriers the metal rail section can thrash around like a whip and decapitate anyone nearby - so get well away and rapidly!

Red Warning Triangle
Warn other road users when you have broken down with the Halfords Car Warning Triangle. You should place your warning triangle on the same side of the road as your vehicle, and at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind it. It has folding legs so it can be positioned to be visible to oncoming vehicles.
£12.99 at Halfords
Hi Vis Vest
Fluorescent and reflective making it effective in the day, in poor visibility and at night. Keep it in your glove box or arm rest in your MGV8 so it's immediately to hand if you should breakdown. Wearing the Hi Vis Vest helps oncoming drivers from behind your stranded vehicle spot you much sooner.
£6.99 at Halfords