There has been a lot of talk recently about smart motorways and the general public’s lack of understanding of how they work. There are two types the first type is where all lanes are running and there is no hard shoulder and there are emergency refuges spaced along the motorway the other is where the hard shoulder can be used as an extra lane at peak times (Dynamic Smart Motorway). 

With the first type where there is no hard shoulder you must obay the signs on the overhead gantry more so if the sign has a red cross above your lane which means you must not proceed in this lane and you need to move out of the lane as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are unfortunate enough to break down in that lane try to pull into one of the emergency refuges and call for help or if you have to stop in the live lane get everyone out of the vehicle through the left side doors and over the barrier into safety and call for help.

With the second type (Dynamic) the same rules apply however there may not be any emergency refuges, if you break down on the motorway get over to the left as far as possible leaving enough room to open the left side doors and get everybody out and over the barrier to a safe place and call for help.

What if there is no safe place to go over the barrier, i.e. concrete wall? You will then have to decide what is the safest course of action to take. DO NOT wander up and down the hard shoulder or any live lane on the motorway and do not put out a red warning triangle on a motorway, it is dangerous to do so.  

To call for help either use one of the motorway emergency phones (if you are stopped by one) or dial 112 on your mobile phone to ask for help. 

Driving on smart motorways need not be difficult, look well ahead, read the signs on the gantries and act promptly on the information they are giving when it is safe to do so. DO NOT DRIVE IN A LANE WITH A RED X ABOVE IT it means the lane is closed, there could be a broken down vehicle in that lane which if you continue to drive in that lane you will approach the stationary vehicle at a speed up to 70 mph. That broken down vehicle may be YOU!!