Drivers have been told there may be “no immediate solution” to fixing smart motorway networks despite many road users holding grave concerns over safety.
Drivers have been found to be confused by the rules of the road with 38 percent accepting more needs to be done to educate drivers. Alex Kindred, Expert at Confused.com has warned that the “rules need clearing up” to ensure road users are aware of what is expected of them.
Better education of the roads and how to use them could help motorists avoid being caught out and increase road safety.
Mr Kindred said: “There’s no immediate solution to the confusion smart motorways are causing.
“Between trying to navigate changing variable speed limits and finding a safe place to stop when the hard shoulder lane opens, the rules need clearing up.
“The government has recognised the concerns surrounding smart motorways, and a review earlier this year announced changes which will make it easier and safer for drivers to pull over.
“But, drivers are still confused about the rules, and our research found that nearly two in five (38 percent) drivers think more needs to be done to educate drivers around motorway driving.”
His comments come just a day after new analysis from Brake and GreenFlag revealed that almost half of road users are unaware of the rules on smart motorways.
In total 15 percent of road users even admitted they don’t know whether or not they had driven on a smart motorway at all.
The lack of knowledge for the crucial rules could see thousands of road users caught out with penalties such as fines.
Ignoring red crosses positioned above each lane will see motorists issued a £100 fine and three penalty points.
Meanwhile, failing to follow this could see motorists drive into stopped vehicles or swerve out of lanes at the last minute.
This may see road users issued charges for careless driving which may see costs rise to £2,500.
Confused.com also warns that smart motorways have a number of speed cameras in the overhead gantries.
Drivers who are caught speeding on a motorway will have the highest penalties with some issued charges for 150 percent of their weekly salary.
Joshua Harris, spokesperson for road safety campaigners at Brake has said improving safety on the roads “must be a priority”.
He has urged the government to follow an “evidence-led approach” to improve safety across the road networks.
He said: “These important findings confirm what we all suspected – drivers are confused about the rules of driving on smart motorways and communication efforts must urgently be stepped up to help avoid more tragic incidents on these roads.
“We welcome the measures the Government has outlined to improve smart motorway safety and urge them to follow this evidence-led approach for all UK roads.
“With more than 75 deaths and serious injuries on our roads, every day, improving road safety must be a priority for this Government.”
Author: LUKE CHILLINGSWORTH
Disclaimer: This article was not originally written by a member of the Safer Highways team.