Code changes for

motorway drivers

Motorway driving

THE Highway Code is to be updated later this year to give road users a better understanding of how motorways operate.

The announcement has been welcomed by road safety and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist which has long campaigned for changes.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said the additional advice was long overdue. "Traffic management procedures - including use of the hard shoulder for traffic - have been in use since 2006," he said.

"So we welcome the announcement that more detailed and specific advice is to be included in the Highway Code, as we know this has the potential to assist every road user in reducing the risks they face - and the risks they may pose to others - on a motorway journey.

"We urge drivers and riders to ensure they know the rules and signs relating to smart motorways. Understanding how a smart motorway works can help sure you don't receive an unwanted traffic ticket. Knowing what to do if you are unfortunate enough to experience a breakdown in a stretch of smart motorway could well prove a lifesaver."

GEM is keen for drivers to understand where the risks can be particularly high on motorways:

Time and space A serious danger is when there is insufficient time and space between vehicles travelling at high speed.

Distracted drivers Anyone using a mobile phone or device, re-setting the satnav or attempting to eat and drink at the wheel poses a risk to themselves and those around them.

Lane discipline Poor lane discipline brings risks - for example, driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty, or changing lanes without proper observations or signalling. This also applies around junctions when drivers are leaving or joining the motorway.

Too late Sometimes drivers make last-minute decisions, either deliberately or unintentionally, and end up cutting across lanes of traffic to get off the motorway or into the correct lane if the carriageway is about to split. Busy urban stretches of motorway are particularly risky, as there are often several junctions and intersections across short distances.

Drifting off There are risks when traffic is light. In these situations there is little or nothing to engage the attention of a driver on a long journey. As a result, alertness can drop and concentration can dip, making it easy to miss a developing hazard.

Mr Worth concluded: "By acknowledging these risks, you are taking a big step toward making a motorway journey safer.

"Also, if you familiarise yourself with the rules and signs that apply to smart motorways, you are much more likely to stay safe and avoid a ticket for speeding or using a closed lane."

GEM adds that knowing what to do if you break down in a stretch of smart motorway is a big help for road safety. Then you will know what to do if you experience a breakdown yourself, and will also understand what's happening if another vehicle breaks down.


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