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This week is half term for some schools so the motorways maybe busier than usual. Daily commuters may find they are having to share the road with less frequent motorway users, so drivers will need to keep their wits about them at all times.
Despite motorways being statistically the safest roads to drive on, with fewer collisions occurring than on other roads, cars are travelling at higher speeds, so when there is a crash it is likely to be more serious. Statistics show that on average one in 50 motorway collisions are fatal as opposed to just one in 70 on other roads.
Smart motorways are also on the increase as Highways England work hard to try to manage the current high volumes of traffic on the UK’s busiest motorways. The company is advising drivers to ensure they learn the rules and signs relating to Smart motorways as they become more commonplace.
Below, Trusted Dealers offers a short guide to motorway driving this half term and beyond.
About Smart motorways
Smart motorways are increasing across the UK and serve as a way for Highways England to better manage traffic without damaging the environment or adding to the cost and time required to build additional motorway lanes. A smart motorway is a section of motorway that installs traffic management methods to increase the volume of traffic passing through whilst minimising congestion. Methods include using the hard shoulder as an additional lane and/or using variable speeds to control the flow of traffic.
Main motorway dangers
Not leaving enough time and space between yourself and the driver in front is one of the most common mistakes drivers can make. With vehicles travelling at high speed it is essential drivers take note of the common two second rule at all times and adhere to it. Using a mobile phone or a device behind the wheel is another common motorway hazard and is against the law. But some other activities we may carry out when behind the wheel are also serious distractions such as re-setting a sat nav or attempting to eat a sandwich, both of which pose a risk to drivers and also those around them.
Middle lane hogging is a pet hate amongst drivers but is still a very common occurrence on motorways. If the left hand lane is free, drivers should always stick to this lane unless they are over-taking another vehicle. Changing lanes without properly observing the vehicles around you or forgetting to signal to indicate to another driver you are going to change lanes, are two other common causes of accidents on the motorway. Drivers should plan ahead to avoid making last minute decisions to cut across traffic either to change lanes or to exit the motorway.
Quieter motorways can be as hazardous as busier motorways. On a quieter stretch of road, there is less to engage the attention of the driver which can result in a drop in their alertness and concentration, making it easier to miss a developing hazard. On quieter motorways, drivers must remember to be extra vigilant and alert to avoid any accidents.
Top tips for safer motorway driving