GEM Motoring Assist has expressed concerns about Highways Agency plans to use sections of the hard shoulder on busy motorways to ease congestion.
GEM says that since 2005 an increasing number of UK motorways have been re-classified as ‘smart motorways’, which use what was previously the hard shoulder to assist traffic flow during busy times of the day.
David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM, said: “The idea behind these plans is to keep roads flowing more freely to ease congestion, which is great in principle but there are obvious and worrying concerns.
“When the system is in operation, a vehicle breaking down no longer has an immediate traffic-free area in which to stop.
“Ideally the driver will be able to reach one of the refuge areas built into the system at frequent intervals. However, this is not always possible and a driver may find it necessary to stop in the middle of the traffic flow which is likely to be unnerving for even an experienced driver. On the plus side, Smart Motorways are constantly monitored, so if a driver doesn’t make it to a refuge area help will arrive very quickly.”