Survey suggests smart motorways are misunderstood

A new survey of drivers in England suggests nearly half of drivers don’t know what to do if they break down on a smart motorway.

Research by Maru/Blue for the insurance comparison site GoCompare found 45% of drivers surveyed said they wouldn’t know what to do, while 52% of respondents were not aware that you can’t drive in a lane marked with a red ‘X’ or lanes that don’t display a speed limit.

Furthermore 76% of the 18 to 24-year-olds who were asked were unaware that you must keep to the speed limit displayed on the overhead gantries when driving on a smart motorway. This fell to just 26% of those aged 65 and over.

In London, where there are 11 smart motorways, 24% of motorists admitted to disliking them. This rose to 38% of those in Yorkshire, an area that has just three, which the researchers say suggests that perhaps people need to get used to the roads before they feel comfortable driving on them.

The survey also suggests more work is needed to make people comfortable driving on smart motorways, with

52% of those asked did not think that moving to smart motorways was a positive change. In fact, 39% said they disliked the idea of smart motorways altogether, and 50% of drivers admitted they didn’t like the idea of family and friends driving on them.

“It’s not surprising that such a large proportion of drivers are unaware of what to do when they break down on the motorway,” commented Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School. “The rollout of smart motorways could and should have been smoother, with a concerted effort to educate all drivers on what to do when they find themselves breaking down.

“While we can’t change what has happened in the past, there is an urgent need to deliver educational training to drivers so that they feel comfortable and confident when driving on smart motorways. This will not only support a driver in a broken-down vehicle but all drivers who happen to be on a smart motorway in the future.”

(Picture – Highways News)

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