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'Smart' Motorways, an accident waiting to happen?

Roads don't normally kill people its the drivers,, having spent alot of years driving abroard as a young man the germans are far and better drivers than the british, I believe it is down to german driver training. which is far superior to british training , some brit drivers fail to read ahead and drive within the roads conditions.
 

3ToedSloth

War Hero
In a normal year I do about 50-60k, mostly on the motorways. I see the benefits of the smoother flowing traffic and reduced delays they've brought.


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've made me rethink my position on this.

So, the question is how much would it really cost to get back the hard shoulder? Evaluate the knock-on impacts of travel times to business and commuters, CO2 emissions, local air quality (NOx and PM10), other road accidents, noise, etc

The best I can find (and I've no idea how reasonable it is) is this report which puts it at about £40bn over 60 years (or £666m/year). Or about £10 from each man, woman and child per year.


And there's been 38 deaths in the last 5 years. Let's assume a constant 7.6 deaths per year.

Very much the back of a fag packet calculation, but getting rid of smart motorways might be equivalent to spending £88m to save each of those lives. Regardless of how tragic some of those deaths have been, there's more fruitful ways to spend that sort of tax money.
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
You've made me rethink my position on this.

So, the question is how much would it really cost to get back the hard shoulder? Evaluate the knock-on impacts of travel times to business and commuters, CO2 emissions, local air quality (NOx and PM10), other road accidents, noise, etc

The best I can find (and I've no idea how reasonable it is) is this report which puts it at about £40bn over 60 years (or £666m/year). Or about £10 from each man, woman and child per year.


And there's been 38 deaths in the last 5 years. Let's assume a constant 7.6 deaths per year.

Very much the back of a fag packet calculation, but getting rid of smart motorways might be equivalent to spending £88m to save each of those lives. Regardless of how tragic some of those deaths have been, there's more fruitful ways to spend that sort of tax money.
Genuinely, i'm glad someone else sees the cost-benefit analysis isn't exactly brilliant to do what the campaigners are calling for. I think you could get much better reductions in deaths by targeting that money elsewhere
 
We've had the smart motorways kick off here in Aus. The 'smartness' seems to be 'keep all the traffic queued up on the on ramps'.

The problem is the people who designed it haven't actually driven it. There is an on ramp I take on the way home from work at the end of the day. It's is a dual lane merging to a single lane before entering the motorway. Some genius put a traffic light on the dual lane part of the ramp.

The speed at the entrance is 100KM/h although there are smart speed signs that drop to 80KM/h which rarely happens. What this means is that you have 100 metres of on ramp to merge two lanes of traffic and get up to 100KM/h to merge with the motorway traffic.
 
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Thankfully we don't have ramp metering on my part of the network, there is further down the region to me and in other parts of the country.
 

anglo

LE
I know you cant cope with driving on a motorway without a hard shoulder. Dont ever bother to travel to Europe, you would shit your pants.

"I know,"
No you don't

"Dont ever bother to travel to Europe, you would shit your pants."

Like I've said, you know FA about me, but feel free to carry on making a twat of yourself
 
This is an interesting thread and I'm going to end up repeating myself on here; so apologies in advance.
People are both right and wrong from what I can see.

In theory, there is no massive issue with the concept of SMART motorways. But the operation has changed from the original concept, e.g. bigger spacing between refuge areas or lack of static vehicle radar etc.

It would be better if the hard shoulder was saved for busy times and left in place during lighter traffic. Like they do on the M42. Instead of defaulting to always in use.
But also the standard of UK driving is poor and frankly getting worse.

I was involved in the JV that was upgrading the M6 Junc 16-19 (somewhere round that). Doing a site visit to discuss an issue my drivers had raised. A Cheshire Traffic /Roads Policing unit was visiting. I'm chatting to the coppers and they tell me a story.

Its late evening, after 2200hrs, M6 is empty, they are in the roadworks, 50mph restriction, cruising in lane 1 in a fully marked police car. In lane 3, black Audi A6 goes flying past them. They accelerate and follow him for a couple of miles where they record him doing 100mph+.
He hasn't seen them tailing so they light him up blues and twos. It takes him a further minute and a half (2.5 miles) before he notices the brightly lit and noisy police car on his tail and immediately pulls over.
I'm slightly aghast at this, I glance at their cruiser, back at them and ask "was he driving with his eyes closed?".
They shrug, "happens all the time".

A majority of drivers in this country travel too fast for the prevailing conditions and have very little situational awareness. Want proof? go watch the UK Dash Cameras channel on YT. - In the first two minutes of this, too fast, inattention.

However it is still possible to get caught out on a SMART motorway. Me travelling North on the M6, Cheshire, 2100ish, its dark, a little misty, but clear. I'm in lane 1, doing around 70mph, as I'm in no hurry but alert and paying attention. I'd over taken a couple of wagons so had slipped back into lane 1. Motorway is curving left when in the distance I thought I saw something so I lifted off and a few seconds out of the dark, is a black BMW mini cooper. Its got hazards on, but the occupants are out and wearing black. Luckily they had pulled it right over and against the barrier. It still gave me a start, so I called 999 and reported it.

But if like many people we see on the motorway, I was not paying attention, going too fast in the rain etc.
Or I'm in an HGV ploughing down lane 1 watching porn on a laptop.....

The problem I think is a confluence of things.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
Thankfully we don't have ramp metering on my part of the network, there is further down the region to me and in other parts of the country.
Mostly you have nice scenery too.

I'll give you a wave next time I'm northbound on the M6
 
It's not too bad is it? ;)
IMG_20200531_195903.jpg
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
I love average speed cameras, especially when I see some moron hooning past me as I drive at the speed limit.

Classic on the M6 roadworks near Stafford as a white van races past me in the 50 limit, bangs the anchors on when he sees the camera on the yellow post, when accelerates away after passing the camera.

M40 is the best for middle lane hogs and lunatic speeding from experience.
 
It's not too bad is it? ;)
View attachment 542675
The M6 North of Preston is a really nice drive. especially in good weather.
to'ing and fro'ing to NI; Tebay Services, probably one of the nicest places to stop on the network.

ETA: Average speed zones. I find a Speed Limiter absolutely makes it 100% easier.
 
"I know,"
No you don't

"Dont ever bother to travel to Europe, you would shit your pants."

Like I've said, you know FA about me, but feel free to carry on making a twat of yourself

Thats right mate no one has noticed you have a problem driving on a road without a hard shoulder.
 
Roads don't normally kill people its the drivers,, having spent alot of years driving abroard as a young man the germans are far and better drivers than the british, I believe it is down to german driver training. which is far superior to british training , some brit drivers fail to read ahead and drive within the roads conditions.

The Germans have had a higher death rate on their roads than the UK for the last 20 year.

There may be other factors involved but its a good indication the krauts arent as good as people think.
 
The M6 North of Preston is a really nice drive. especially in good weather.
to'ing and fro'ing to NI; Tebay Services, probably one of the nicest places to stop on the network.

ETA: Average speed zones. I find a Speed Limiter absolutely makes it 100% easier.
I was patrolling the Kendal to Penrith stretch today. Very nice during the summer, but can be very harsh during the winter.
 
I was patrolling the Kendal to Penrith stretch today. Very nice during the summer, but can be very harsh during the winter.
The M69 is another excellent bit of motorway. Especially if you're in a mischievous mood.
Lovely bit of road, normally not too busy and lightly policed.
 

Le_addeur_noir

On ROPS
On ROPs
You would be justified in saying 'I told you so'.
It struck me as stupidity at the time. The parallel would be removing the emergency exits on an airliner, or the lifeboats on a ship.

This is about expanding capacity on the cheap and ramping up the fines handed out from the speed cameras. Nothing else.
 

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