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'Smart' Motorways, an accident waiting to happen?

I can't see the issue in using the hard shoulder as a running lane in heavy traffic when congestion has brought the speed down to 30 or 40mph in the other lanes. Almost every time i've seen a vehicle stopped in lane 1 it's either been a woman with a flat tyre, people swapping details after a very minor bump or some clapped out POS that's not seen a service since Brookside was on TV - why not drive to the next refuge instead of stopping in the middle of the motorway?

I think it's another example of how we refuse to hold people accountable for their actions. Not my fault I was on the phone/tailgaiting/looking out the window and didn't look where I was driving, it was the fault of someone else (i.e. the road designer).

With my limited driving experience I understand, in certain situations, a vehicle will just cease to function. Driving on to the next "safe haven" is not always an option.
With a hard shoulder there is a chance, at least, of getting off the live carriageways.

Your description of "situations" is simplistic. You can be driving correctly, maintaining safe distances, when presented with a stationary vehicle previously hidden by a truck some 100 yards in front of you. Regardless of your super power reactions and physics defying brakes, you will not be able to stop ( distance required at 70mph is circa 120 yards ) and have nowhere to go.
 
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly, not just changing the oil once a year before crossing you fingers that the advisories from last years MOT haven't become outright fails. And understanding that run-flat tires are designed to allow you to keep driving to a safe place, not stopping in the middle of the carriageway.
I think you're backing a hamstrung horse here mate, no matter how much you advocate it's the vehicle owners fault somehow, that they're able to anticipate all eventualities in the very kinetic environment that modern motorways have become. The basic design and premise of motorway design has been undermined by this new system. Its inherently unsafe as I stated previously
 
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly, not just changing the oil once a year before crossing you fingers that the advisories from last years MOT haven't become outright fails. And understanding that run-flat tires are designed to allow you to keep driving to a safe place, not stopping in the middle of the carriageway.


...and still racing cars pack up and get punctures?
 
I think you're backing a hamstrung horse here mate, no matter how much you advocate it's the vehicle owners fault somehow, that they're able to anticipate all eventualities in the very kinetic environment that modern motorways have become. The basic design and premise of motorway design has been undermined by this new system. Its inherently unsafe as I stated previously
Dual carriageways don't have a hard shoulder and are national speed limits. What's the difference? There is far more technology on a smart motorway than a dual carriageway. And before you ask, I don't patrol them, I patrol the stretch that time forgot, we still get RTCs due to inattentive drivers.
 
Your description of "situations" is simplistic. You can be driving correctly, maintaining safe distances, when presented with a stationary vehicle previously hidden by a truck some 100 yards in front of you. Regardless of your super power reactions and physics defying brakes, you will not be able to stop ( distance required at 70mph is circa 120 yards ) and have nowhere to go.

Add to that the time it takes the vigilant M way control staff to put up warning signs and then for motorists to react and then..............well there isn't a problem because it was designed in an office by someone who doesn't drive often and it works on the computer simulation.
 
Dual carriageways don't have a hard shoulder and are national speed limits. What's the difference?

People are looking for an reason to excuse piss poor driving.
 

3ToedSloth

War Hero
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly, not just changing the oil once a year before crossing you fingers that the advisories from last years MOT haven't become outright fails. And understanding that run-flat tires are designed to allow you to keep driving to a safe place, not stopping in the middle of the carriageway.
We should shut down the hospitals too - illnesses are easily avoidable if you eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Fire service is a waste too as everyone should just take the precautions to ensure their house doesn't go up in flames. Etc. Etc.
 
Dual carriageways don't have a hard shoulder and are national speed limits. What's the difference? There is far more technology on a smart motorway than a dual carriageway. And before you ask, I don't patrol them, I patrol the stretch that time forgot, we still get RTCs due to inattentive drivers.

I think that on dual carriageway A roads, drivers have many more features to contend with and their expectations are not the same as when driving on a motorway where they expect to be in fairly fast moving traffic all going in the same direction.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly, not just changing the oil once a year before crossing you fingers that the advisories from last years MOT haven't become outright fails. And understanding that run-flat tires are designed to allow you to keep driving to a safe place, not stopping in the middle of the carriageway.
Most modern cars don't have a spare wheel. Only a few have runflat tyres.
Mine only has a space saver spare because I specified one when I bought it.

Modern cars often pack up without warning. This happened to a former work colleague whose Vectra decided to quit in the outside lane of the M6. He rolled onto the hard shoulder (not a smart motorway) and 30s later was hit up the rear by a truck driver asleep at the wheel. He spent over a month in hospital.

All modern cars rely completely on electrickery and multiple sensors and computers, one sensor goes chips and computer says no worky. E.g. crank position sensor goes chips, engine stops, fuel pressure sensor ditto and same for 3 or 4 other sensors. Usually with no warning and regardless of how well maintained the motor is.
 

anglo

LE
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly, not just changing the oil once a year before crossing you fingers that the advisories from last years MOT haven't become outright fails. And understanding that run-flat tires are designed to allow you to keep driving to a safe place, not stopping in the middle of the carriageway.
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly,

All breakdowns are due to lack of maintenance, really?
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
Most modern cars don't have a spare wheel. Only a few have runflat tyres.
Mine only has a space saver spare because I specified one when I bought it.

Modern cars often pack up without warning. This happened to a former work colleague whose Vectra decided to quit in the outside lane of the M6. He rolled onto the hard shoulder (not a smart motorway) and 30s later was hit up the rear by a truck driver asleep at the wheel. He spent over a month in hospital.

All modern cars rely completely on electrickery and multiple sensors and computers, one sensor goes chips and computer says no worky. E.g. crank position sensor goes chips, engine stops, fuel pressure sensor ditto and same for 3 or 4 other sensors. Usually with no warning and regardless of how well maintained the motor is.
So even though there *was* a hard shoulder he was still hit by a truck driver not paying attention. Maybe the problem is truck drivers not paying attention rather than motorway design?? As I said before, poor driving standards and almost non-existent enforcement of traffic laws.
 

Rab_C

LE
Design of all things has to factor in human stupidity.

Many years ago there were persistent problems with a ramp on to M25 from M3.

DoT claimed it was caused by drivers "not using it properly". Nothing wrong at all. Nope. Complied with all standards. Begone with you, ignorant peasants.

Eventually "reconfigured" (road marking changed to give more distance for filtering) and lo, the snarl ups and RTA's plummeted..
If you’re on about eastbound I wouldn’t say it has improved. Heading into London I always position myself in the fast lane due to all the cnuts ignoring the filtering and then slamming on their brakes in the second lane. Bugger all to do with road markings everything to do with assholes. The only recent improvement is because of the lack of traffic due to Covid.
 
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cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
With my limited driving experience I understand, in certain situations, a vehicle will just cease to function. Driving on to the next "safe haven" is not always an option.
With a hard shoulder there is a chance, at least, of getting off the live carriageways.

Your description of "situations" is simplistic. You can be driving correctly, maintaining safe distances, when presented with a stationary vehicle previously hidden by a truck some 100 yards in front of you. Regardless of your super power reactions and physics defying brakes, you will not be able to stop ( distance required at 70mph is circa 120 yards ) and have nowhere to go.
The whole point of the original smart motorways was that the hard shoulder would be used as an additional lane when traffic was heavy and slow moving to help ease congestion. If traffic is light enough that you can do 70mph in lane 1 then the hard shoulder wouldnt be in use.
 
I've said it before way up thread:

1. When SMART motorways were first sold to us the scheme of manoeuvre was that Lane Zero would only be made available when the motorway was severely congested, and the additional capacity would be used, with a lower speed limit imposed across all four lanes.

2. If an incident occurred Lane Zero would be shut again, and further speed limits imposed - we have all seen the 40 max signs as we approach a stopped vehicle.

3. Later models suggested that using all four lanes as the norm, then shutting Lane Zero for an incident. This has created two misnomers:
a) It becomes hugely more difficult to pull into lane zero when your tyre bursts/whatever, because traffic is already streaming in it at 50 plus MPH.
b) Once in it, vehicles behind are not prepared for blocked lane. Now the Cow might have some beef (SWIDT?) about lack of attention of following drivers but things happen at 70 mph, whether we like it or not.

Conversely councils are now taking away street art because people are too busy texting to look where they are walking, and this presents a danger to the public. I find the two policies diametrically opposed, and look forward to someone going to jail for making Lane Zero being open all the time.

In short I support the concept in 1 above, but not the way it has morphed.

ETA; @cowgoesmoo posted (above) in agreement whilst I was typing.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
All easily avoided by maintaining a car properly,

All breakdowns are due to lack of maintenance, really?
The Car I was driving a High end Mercedes, less than 5 months old, just cut out, shortly after leaving the M5 and heading to Worcester, it just stopped, steering went stiff, all the warning lights came on
auto box so you cant push it
I managed to shove it hard left onto the grass verge and did a bit of damage to the sill and front spoiler
no previous warning
full tank of fuel
all tyres correctly inflated
and I was driving it gently not hammering it
was that my fault
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
@cowgoesmoo

Are you a traffic engineer who works for the Department of Transport?
No not at all. I just think the risks are blown out of all proportion and people like to blame the motorway deisgn for their own failings as drivers

Over the last 5 years: 8,800 people killed in RTAs. 1,200 of them involved at least one driver who was over the drink drive limit. About 400 fatal accidents involved at least one driver who had illegal drugs in their system. 38 people were killed on smart motorways. And yet the last one is the only one we have a media-led campaign to spend billions more and decades of corrective action to reduce. People will happily go the pub and have a couple of pints, or a couple of lines, and drive home, but they won't drive on a smart motorway because they're "dangerous" even though 94% of fatalities happen in non-motorway crashes.
 
Dual carriageways don't have a hard shoulder and are national speed limits. What's the difference? There is far more technology on a smart motorway than a dual carriageway. And before you ask, I don't patrol them, I patrol the stretch that time forgot, we still get RTCs due to inattentive drivers.
You don't get a car on your right going faster than you and a lorry on your right going a bit slower. That difference.
 
Most modern cars don't have a spare wheel. Only a few have runflat tyres.
Mine only has a space saver spare because I specified one when I bought it.

Modern cars often pack up without warning. This happened to a former work colleague whose Vectra decided to quit in the outside lane of the M6. He rolled onto the hard shoulder (not a smart motorway) and 30s later was hit up the rear by a truck driver asleep at the wheel. He spent over a month in hospital....

That's why the advice is to get out and up the bank or behind the barrier. Apparently the two involved in this latest case didn't do that.
 
No not at all. I just think the risks are blown out of all proportion and people like to blame the motorway deisgn for their own failings as drivers

Over the last 5 years: 8,800 people killed in RTAs. 1,200 of them involved at least one driver who was over the drink drive limit. About 400 fatal accidents involved at least one driver who had illegal drugs in their system. 38 people were killed on smart motorways. And yet the last one is the only one we have a media-led campaign to spend billions more and decades of corrective action to reduce. People will happily go the pub and have a couple of pints, or a couple of lines, and drive home, but they won't drive on a smart motorway because they're "dangerous" even though 94% of fatalities happen in non-motorway crashes.

You only had to say 'no' I didn't need the statistics.

It was just that I used to have to attend meetings with various Highway Authorities for over ten years.
I went to represent the traffic police (of which I was a member) and your argument/point of view seemed familiar.
 

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