Smart motorways are sections of the motorway that use Active Traffic Management (ATM) methods to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion. While designed to make motorways safer, they've attracted a fair bit of criticism since being introduced, from professional drivers and members of the public alike.

Smart motorways have been in the news lately, with reports that Highways England are set to review whether smart motorways really are a good idea. There are concerns that they've caused an increase in speeding fines and may actually be less safe than regular motorways.

But how can your fleet drivers avoid fines and accidents on smart motorways? Here are our top tips.

Smart Motorway

Know where smart motorways are

It helps if your drivers know when their route will include smart motorways, so they can prepare accordingly and are aware that there will be variable speed limits, for example. You can easily find maps of England's smart motorways online, so make your drivers aware of where they are.

Carry enough fuel

Avoiding breakdowns is important on any journey, but even more so when driving on smart motorways, as they often use the hard shoulder as an active lane to improve traffic flow. There are emergency refuge areas along smart motorways, but if you breakdown in between them then you could be in big trouble. Make sure your drivers have more than enough fuel, as a breakdown could turn into a major accident. Even if a collision doesn't occur, you can be fined or given penalty points for needlessly running out of fuel, as this can be considered 'driving without due care and attention'. 

Get your vehicles serviced regularly

Another way to avoid dangerous (and expensive!) breakdowns on smart motorways is to keep your vehicles in top working condition with regular servicing. A vehicle fault on a smart motorway could be a big problem, so make sure you get your vehicles serviced promptly when a service is due.

Be aware of changes to the speed limit

Smart motorways use variable speed limits to reduce traffic congestion. This catches out a lot of drivers, with over 72,000 people being fined on smart motorways last year. With maximum fines of £2500 for speeding on motorways, ignoring variable speed limits could be a very costly mistake for your business. These speed limits may be temporary, but they're still strictly enforced, with lots of fines given out for driving as little as 2mph over the speed limit, so make sure your drivers are aware of them. Be aware of speeding ticket hotspots too - the roads where you're most likely to be caught for speeding. 

Beware of the cameras!

On some smart motorways the speed cameras are active 24 hours a day. There's no escaping a speeding fine on these motorways, so it's extra important to keep to the speed limits. Make sure your drivers are aware of the motorways where these cameras are active.

Respect lane closures

Smart motorways will close lanes if there is an obstruction in that lane and will display a red cross above the lane to indicate that drivers should change lane. However, Highways England have found that 1 in 5 drivers ignore this sign and continue to drive in the closed lane. Make sure that your drivers aren't guilty of this as it could lead to unnecessary delays or worse, an accident.

Get in Touch

We at Pendragon Vehicle Management are committed to helping you keep your business on the road no matter the circumstances.  Daily Rental can help you get back on the road within hours, while Let's Lease is a long term employee benefit scheme without any car tax and no admin fee for your business, just launch and go!

Get in Touch