On the first anniversary of the introduction of SMART motorways, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) says “widespread confusion” still exists among drivers on how best to use them.
The IAM says SMART motorways were officially introduced this time last year to replace Managed Motorways as “the solution to the nation’s congested motorways”.
England’s first ‘all-lane running’ motorway – a 2.5 km stretch of the M25 between junctions 23 and 25 – opened on 14 April 2014. Complete schemes, with variable speed limits and all-lane running, are now in operation on sections of the M1, M4, M5, M6, M42 and M62.
In an IAM survey conducted last year, 71% of respondents said they would feel less safe on a motorway with no hard shoulder.
Sarah Sillars, IAM CEO, said “There are many different motorway users and some are still confused and nervous about using SMART motorways – if they are aware of them at all.
“Highways England must analyse incident data on a continuous basis and ensure that any lessons learned from the real world use of SMART motorways are implemented quickly.
“Ultimately, the smartest way to build awareness would be to allow learner drivers to use motorways under expert supervision.”
The IAM has produced a policy document on SMART motorways and a set of tips on using SMART motorways, and how to react to different signals.