Image: Highways England via Flickr
The RAC Foundation is calling for UK motorways to be made as ‘welcoming and safe’ as possible, so as not to alienate those who rarely use them.
The motoring research charity says the challenge is to ensure fewer drivers consider motorways a ‘mystery’ – despite the fact one in every five miles driven by car takes place on this type of road.
According to a RAC News item, road safety experts are concerned that drivers who don’t use motorways are unaware of the unique demands of these high-speed roads, including several recently-announced changes.
In July, for example, Highways England announced a pilot scheme for bright orange emergency refuge areas to be used as safe spaces in an emergency, when the hard shoulder has become a traffic lane.
While in August, the DfT announced the testing of driverless lorry convoys, in a bid to lower emissions and congestion levels on England’s busiest highways.
Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director, said: “While one in five miles driven by car takes place on a motorway, for many motorists these roads remain a mystery.
“The challenge is to make motorways as welcoming and safe as possible, so those people who only use them once in a blue moon feel comfortable doing so.”
Recent DfT data shows that as many as 89 local authority areas are not covered by the motorway network, leaving millions of drivers ‘apprehensive and in the dark’.
Press Association analysis of the DfT figures suggests that up to 19m people live in areas without 70mph roads.
A Highways England spokesman said: “Over the past 18 months we have delivered a number of campaigns to help drivers travel confidently and safely on our motorways.
“Our traffic officers and information line are also available to help drivers 24/7.”