Survey “reveals UK drivers’ lack of smart motorway knowledge”

A new survey of more than 7,000 British motorists has found one in four of those questioned don’t understand when they can or can’t use the hard shoulder on a smart motorway, and nearly half don’t know you could get points for driving under a red X.

The Halfords Roadworthy Quiz tested 7,100 people’s knowledge of smart motorways and motoring laws and also found younger drivers are more likely to hog the middle lane of a motorway when there’s nothing in the inside lane.

The survey suggests 24% of drivers think you can use the hard shoulder on dynamic hard shoulder smart motorways if there is no speed limit showing above the lane when in fact it is illegal to do so, while 45% don’t know you could be fined three penalty points for driving in a lane marked with a red ‘X’ on a smart motorway. Of those drivers who know it is illegal most think the punishment consists of a cash fine, as one in three (33%) think the punishment is a £1,000 and one in 10 (10%) think it’s a small fine of £300, when actually law breakers could receive a heavy three penalty points and a £100 fine.  

One in 10 (10%) drivers with less than one year’s experience believe that driving in a lane with a red ‘X’ isn’t illegal at all.

Halfords says its Roadworthy quiz is an “interactive, trivia game featuring a cheeky host who tests UK drivers’ knowledge on the latest motoring laws”. Question topics range from smart motorways, MOT’s, road signs and vehicle maintenance to name a few, with the aim of revealing how well UK drivers know the highway code.

The findings also reveal UK drivers lack knowledge around the laws of basic motorway driving. Over a third (35%) of drivers think it isn’t illegal to stay in the middle lane longer than necessary with one quarter of drivers (24%) believing this illegal action is just frowned upon.

17 to 24-year old drivers are more likely to be ‘middle lane hoggers’ with more than half (51%) of this age group believing it is not illegal. 

Since June 2018, learner drivers were allowed to drive on the motorway as long as they were accompanied by an approved driving instructor and driving a car fitted with dual controls[3]. Despite this law being introduced over two years ago, two fifths (39%) of drivers still think learner drivers aren’t allowed on the motorway.

A quarter (24%) of drivers do know learner drivers can use the motorway but don’t know under what circumstances, as one in 10 (10%) think they are allowed after they pass their theory test and 14% think they can use the motorway after they pass their sixth driving lesson. 

Those with up to three years driving experience are more likely to know this latest rule of the road (55%) compared to those who have over 30 years’ experience where only a third (33%) know learner drivers can use the motorway. 

When it comes to speeding fines, two fifths (41%) of drivers don’t know what the largest fine you can get is for speeding on the motorway. One in three (34%) think it’s a mere £1,000 when it’s actually a hefty £2,500.

A Halfords spokesperson said, ”It is concerning the lack of knowledge around all motorway types and not just smart motorways. It’s important for everyone to read the latest version of the highway code to keep all road users safe, not only on smart motorways but across all UK roads. Sometimes people break driving laws without even realising so it’s best to brush up your knowledge before hitting the roads especially as many of us will be driving less during periods of lockdown.”

The Halfords roadworthy quiz is available to play here.

(Picture – Highways News)


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