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BOAC

Smart Motorways or not so smart?

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Last Monday there was a Panorama half hour programme concerning smart motorways. Quite frankly I was horrified at some of the deaths and injury that have happened because there is no hard shoulder. So, whats the advice by the transport minister on what you should do in the case of a breakdown where there is no hard shoulder or refuge area? Oh yes - stay in your car - in a live lane thats madness in my humble opinion but when a breakdown occurs on a bridge there is no choice to stay in your car and say, "Our Father ....... etc". Funny how the death rate has shot up since the introduction of smart motorways according to the panorama program. 

 

One thing I didn't know - and I will admit it - that if there is a red cross on a gantry above a lane - get out of that lane double quick - it indicates there is a broken down vehicle in that lane somewhere ahead - not roadworks. 

 

In the case of a blowout  I would try to keep going until the next refuge area which could be a minimum of 600 yards or a maximum of two miles and sod the damage that might be caused. If there was a chance to vote to reverse the decision to create smart motorways I would vote in favour.

 

So, have you any tales of experiences on smart motorways - or advice - which might help others?

 

 

 

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Just one piece of advice from me - avoid them if at all possible as I have serious concerns about the negatives.

Yesterday we had to travel to a family funeral, and chose to use A-roads to avoid using the "not so smart" section of M42 and M6 through the midlands. I disapprove of inappropriate use of enforced reduced speed limits, and the decision to remove a full length hard shoulder frankly is lethal.

I value life and will do whatever I can to preserve it. Motorways without hard shoulders have become dangerous places and in my opinion are best avoided.

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One thing I didn't know - and I will admit it - that if there is a red cross on a gantry above a lane - get out of that lane double quick - it indicates there is a broken down vehicle in that lane somewhere ahead - not roadworks.

Not necessarily. It indicates that the lane is closed but not the reason for the closure.

BOAC

As a regular user of Motorways, Smart or otherwise, I have long thought that many users are not smart enough to use them safely.

DeeTee

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I read recently that your life expectancy is about 20 minutes if you remain in your car if stopped on the hard shoulder of a French Autoroute.

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As with so many things these days, it is not the underlying idea that is flawed, but the implementation.

 

Far too few refuges and far too far apart.

Far too long delays between a vehicle stopping and the lane closure. (not enough sensors)

 

No doubt just to cut costs!

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I can understand the reason for smart motorways but IMO the system is flawed. The traffic builds up and they open the hard sholder as a lane, taking away the emergency stop lane, so they have introduced a litttle rescue layby.   Now then, providing no one hits you up the rear, you have to get out of your car on the passenger side, the old, disabled and large people have no chance of getting over the middle bit and out of the passenger door.   The AA are no longer coming to your aid on a SM, they say it's too risky.  You have to abide by the overhead crosses  or speed restrictions for your own good as well as other's. The government said that SM are now having an urgent review .

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The idea might just about be realistic if you could reach a refuge area and get out of the way of traffic. Given these are over 2 miles apart, the chances of getting there if you lose all power is simply too low. If they were far nearer you might have a chance of rolling there but two or more miles is simply out of the question. This is made even worse by the fact that you are stuck there at the busiest time of the day when the risks are highest.

I cannot even begin to understand how any sensible person could have come up with this specification  or how others who had any idea of safety could have approved it. All persons involved in this should hang their heads in shame and be made to meet and explain to all those affected by the death of their loved ones through this crass stupidity.

We are used to brainless ideas from those in charge but this one is one of the worst and is costing lives at an alarming rate.

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5 hours ago, Gordon said:

Motorways without hard shoulders have become dangerous places and in my opinion are best avoided.

 

After seeing the Panorama report I agree with you and I will follow suit.

 

AND to sum up see the below

 

 

1 hour ago, Wildwood said:

 

We are used to brainless ideas from those in charge but this one is one of the worst and is costing lives at an alarming rate.

5 hours ago, DeeTee said:

 

As a regular user of Motorways, Smart or otherwise, I have long thought that many users are not smart enough to use them safely.

 

 

Smart users are smart enough not to use smart motorways but how do you use a smart motorway and stay safe in the event of a breakdown? Answer - You can't.

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What about getting the disabled,the elderly and the children to a safe location (over the Armco) as was once the advice.

 

What about buses/coaches carrying school kids and or adults on organised trips.

 

Do the coach trip organises stipulate only the fully mobile can take advantage of the trips  ( Prejudice smells very very strong here) 

 

WE are paying these idiots (Politicians) with our taxpayers money and it has got to stop.

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For those of you that did not see the program I referred to, you can view it HERE

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11 hours ago, BOAC said:

 

 

One thing I didn't know - and I will admit it - that if there is a red cross on a gantry above a lane - get out of that lane double quick - it indicates there is a broken down vehicle in that lane somewhere ahead - not roadworks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If there is a red cross over a lane you shouldn't be in it not thinking of getting out of it.

 

Red cross = lane closed.........................for whatever reason.

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7 minutes ago, BOAC said:

For those of you that did not see the program I referred to, you can view it HERE

 

HI BOAC. Which channel was it it so that I can viewed on 'Catch-up' TV ?

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Has anyone seen any data about how many accidents there were/are with normal hard should motorways, compared with smart .

 

I was astonished that a previous poster didn't know what the red cross above a lane meant.  Whether its for road works, an accident or even a broken down car it really does mean that the lane is closed and you should not be in it.  It's not a warning its an instruction

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Before the BBC (or whoever it was) came up with recent statistics on the number of near misses on smart motorways, another program on motorways had somebody on who was saying how good they were. The reason behind them was a smart motorway was around £50M as opposed to a proper 4th lane with hard shoulder being about 10 times that. The BBC reported in a section of the M25 that had become smart went up from 72 near misses to 1485 in the 5 years before and after being smart https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51236375 - this is probably a short summary of the BBC Panorama program.

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The program was Panorama, on BBC 1,last week.

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21 minutes ago, AWanderingLancastrian said:

 

HI BOAC. Which channel was it it so that I can viewed on 'Catch-up' TV ?

 

If your catch up is the same as mine it only goes back a week, and the program was televised over a week ago. U tube is the only source now.

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23 minutes ago, matelodave said:

 

I was astonished that a previous poster didn't know what the red cross above a lane meant.  Whether its for road works, an accident or even a broken down car it really does mean that the lane is closed and you should not be in it.  It's not a warning its an instruction

 

I am not alone I suspect, however, as I only have a once a year outing to places afar and usually use the A roads how would I know that? Who is going to say "Hey Pete, if you see a red cross on a gantry then ..............................". I just asked my neighbour what it means and he did not know the meaning either, so I am not alone so remain astonished Dave. 

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How long will it be before insurance companies refuse to pay out for death and damages because they  consider that drivers were contributory in their own deaths and damages because of their knowledge that the Smart Motorways were know risks  to life,limb and property ?

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IMHO the Panorama programme, which I have just watched, was the sloppiest piece of TV journalism I have seen in a long time. I believe that the programme may have been made when the Highways Agency were about to announce their change of mind about Smart motorways. If I recall correctly they were created to increase traffic flow and seem to have been successful in that regard. What seems not to have been taken into consideration was the variety of "driving styles" of all road users.

The Panorama programme did not distinguish between Smart motorways and other types of motorway such as managed motorways. It preferred to lump them all together as Smart motorways. One section showed a change of all three lanes which could have been anywhere.

 

It did not mention the fact that on the hard shoulders of ordinary motorways in the past a number police officers, rescue service personnel and ordinary motorists have been killed.

 

No-one questioned why other drivers were parked  on the hard shoulder/running lane.

 

There was no mention of how near misses were recorded, given the statement that one section was out of order for almost a year.

 

As far I am aware, as a regular user, not all of the M42 is a Smart motorway. I stand to be corrected as I believe that a member of this forum has probably more experience than me and I believe is located in close proximity to it.

 

One wonders where our elected representatives were when all this was apparently happening on our highway system? Why were they not kicking up a fuss. What is clear from Panorama is that there seems to have been absolutely no research carried out and only now something may be done about it. Grant Shapps played a blinder-"it wasn't me gove but maybe we will do something about it-sometime

 

A couple of weeks ago I returned from south west London to Cheshire via the A3, M25, M40, M42, M6, M54 and 50 miles of the A41. It is regular journey for me in both directions and the most hazardous part of the journey is the A41 section.

On Friday I will be travelling to Banbury via the A41, M54, M6, M42 and M40. I will feel far safer and be more confident than I would be via the M56 and the M6 south to M54 junction.

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1 hour ago, BOAC said:

 

If your catch up is the same as mine it only goes back a week, and the program was televised over a week ago. U tube is the only source now.

 

My Catch-Up is all channels and all on Sky.

 

I have managed to find it and have downloaded it ready for viewing in a comfortable chair.

 

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39 minutes ago, DeeTee said:

As far I am aware, as a regular user, not all of the M42 is a Smart motorway. I stand to be corrected as I believe that a member of this forum has probably more experience than me and I believe is located in close proximity to it.

I believe the "smart" section of the M42 is between the M40 junction and the M6 junction only.

 

39 minutes ago, DeeTee said:

IMHO the Panorama programme, which I have just watched, was the sloppiest piece of TV journalism I have seen in a long time.

That may well be true regarding the reporting but from what I have witnessed by using these new reduced safety motorways is that they are a cheap and nasty alternative to what should be the safest roads in the country. 

Consequently, as I stated earlier, I recommend avoiding them if at all possible.

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15 minutes ago, Gordon said:

I believe the "smart" section of the M42 is between the M40 junction and the M6 junction only.

Thanks Gordon. So do I.

Gordon

Perhaps the Panorama programme makers should read the insurers Smart motorways website?

 

Edited by DeeTee

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8 minutes ago, Gordon said:

I believe the "smart" section of the M42 is between the M40 junction and the M6 junction only.

 

It is. And it is from memory the first bit of 'smart' motorway we ever drove on and it worked well but it didnt have all lane running, they just controlled the flow with the overhead signs.

 

The problems now that we have stem from the fact they have taken the concept too far on some routes, particularly with this 'sometimes you can use the hard shoulder sometimes you cannot' thing or 'you can only use the hard shoulder for the next junction'.

 

And expecting a vehicle to wait in a live lane when its broken down is frankly a joke.

Edited by Thehappygnome

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1 hour ago, BOAC said:

 

If your catch up is the same as mine it only goes back a week, and the program was televised over a week ago. U tube is the only source now.

It is available from BBC iPlayer and will be for eleven months.  However, you cannot find it by searching for "Panorama" but  I found it under "smart motorway".

Several of the crashes referred to in the Panorama programme were due to breakdowns in lanes other than lane one.  In these cases, the situation would have been equally dangerous on a conventional motorway.

 

I also object to the presenter doing his pieces to camera while driving on a motorway.  It was distracting to watch and presumably distracting for the presenter/driver as well.

 

These two issues undermine the message they were giving as they reduce my trust in their integrity.

 

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