Do you know the rules for driving on a smart motorway?

Do not drive in lanes marked by a ‘red X’ as these lanes are closed

Stick to whatever speed limit is displayed on the overhead gantries

The solid white line shows the hard shoulder – never drive in unless directed

A broken white line indicates a normal traffic lane

If your vehicle is having trouble, such as warning lights, exit the motorway as soon as possible and find a relatively safe place to stop

Here are some tips for what to do if you break down on a smart motorway:

What is an Emergency Refuge Area (ERA)?

An Emergency refuge area (ERA), or SOS area are located on smart motorways and designed to offer a relatively safe place for stranded vehicles to wait on in the absence of a hard shoulder

Painted orange for increased visibility, they show up every 1.5 miles on all running lanes of a smart highway. Highways UK has said that future designs will have better ERAs.

One fifth of drivers that break down on a smart motorway do not realize they should contact the Highways England when using ERA.

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If you have broken down or been involved in an accident while on this type of motorway, you should try to use the emergency protection area which is characterized by large blue signs featuring an orange SOS phone symbol. Arrows will take you to an area marked on the asphalt and painted orange, where you have to stop and switch on your hazard warning lights. For Car Recovery Swindon, visit a site like ND Services, a Car Recovery Swindon business.

Occupants then must exit the vehicle from the passenger side and wait behind the crash barrier. An SOS phone is available for calling an operative at Highways England who will give you further instructions.

These emergency areas should only be used in the event of an accident or break down and should never be used for taking a break, using the toilet or making a telephone call.

Breaking down on a smart motorway – what should I do?

Should you be unfortunate enough to have an accident or break down while on a smart motorway, take the following action:

Pull into the emergency protection area (ERA) if you are able to reach it safely

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If you are unable to reach the nearest ERA or get out of your vehicle in a safe manner, follow these steps:

If you are unable to get to the emergency protection area, you should try to get to the verge if no security barrier is present and it is not hazardous to do so

In all cases, turn on your hazard warning lights

Should you come to a stop in the left lane, exit your vehicle through the passenger doors if it is not hazardous to do so and stand behind the security barrier, if there is one

If you are unable get to the nearside lane or leave your vehicle in a safe manner, then you should remain in your vehicle with your seat belt on and dial ‘999’ if you have access to a mobile phone

When the relevant highway authority became aware of the break down or incident on the motorway they should switch to the ‘red cross’ signs on gantries above the lane you are in to stop the traffic from driving in that lane.

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