Motorways a ‘mystery’ to many drivers – RAC Foundation

12.00 | 13 September 2017 | | 5 comments

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.”

Category: General.



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    If the RAC want motorways to be a safe and welcoming environment then maybe they can write various articles in their magazine. For a start, one would be about always keeping safe distances

    Another would be about overtaking and cutting in as it’s not necessary, offensive and dangerous.

    Another would be to slow down and take one’s time instead of hurrying everywhere. Obey the speed limits and I don’t mean the ACPO ones. Drive by speedometer.

    Another would be about courtesy, slowing and allowing other drivers to overtake and to proceed without hinderance. Lorry drivers pleae take note.

    Another would be to reduce congestion by advising HGV drivers to remain in the inside lane and not commit to an overtake that would effectively block two lanes of the motorway for some considerable distance. Thereby slowing all other traffic down and causing uneccesary congestion and a tailback which in turn causes other drivers frustration which turns to anger and possible inappropriate actions.

    Maybe the RAC would consider these points and perhaps many more, and write articles and advise on training courses which they and other teaching agencies do. Instead of merely bringing these matters to the attention of others and then leaving it as if it’s somneone else’s responsibility.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    Bit of a silly headline really. Not having driven on a motorway is not the same as not having ever been on a motorway (as a passenger), so I can’t see how they would be a ‘mystery’ as claimed and the concept of an M-way would not be unfamiliar to most people. It could even be argued that a regular passenger – as opposed to a driver – on a M-way sees more of what’s going on around them and if and when they do eventually drive on one, they will have some idea of what to expect and be prepared.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I agree Iain but not likely. More likely they will get someone else to drive them or take the longer way round on local or arterial reoads.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    Unless they suddenly find themselves in a situation where they have to drive on a motorway. Like a sudden emergency journey to a Hospital A&E. Having, at least, a small amount of experience will always help.

    Iain (Scotland)
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    There are millions of drivers who have never been and will never go on a motorway. They are the great British mums who take out their second or third car for maybe a 4 mile spin at least twice a day to take their and others children to and from school and maybe, just maybe, call in at the local food bank be it Aldi or Lidle or Asda etc. They do not need and do not want to drive on a motorway at all. Thank goodness, as there are enough crazy drivers out there that do, unfotunately.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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