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Thread: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

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    Senior Member AGTDenton's Avatar
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    Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Referencing the recent Panorama program below:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episod...ller-motorways


    I've done a fair bit of driving over the years now, largely work related, I've travelled on the different style of smart motorways that I can say I actually prefer the dynamic hard shoulder. It makes more sense to me to assume it's closed unless otherwise stated, and that it's only likely to be opened if theres a heavy build up of traffic. That way you're not constantly thinking, is it closed or open all the way down. One thing you don't want to do while driving at a good speed is to constantly have to look away from the road, especially in the case of the smart motorways where the sign only hangs on the left.
    They are right however, I rarely see safe areas to park. And how often can you travel 2 miles to break down.

    How do you find them, what's your experience?

  2. #2
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    People are idiots. While we rely on them to both read signposts about smart motorways and to stop driving in lane 3 thus negating any benefit, they'll fail.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    As a passenger, I'd feel much more comfortable if there is always a hard shoulder there, not this Smart Motorway thing.

    You never know where you could break down if you did, and would obviously have no choice in the matter. I shudder at the idea of it being in the 'wrong place' as dictated by a smart motorway and the risks that would arise from that, so I think it better to be safe than sorry.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    I used to regularly use the M3 section near London, and it put me right off the idea. Kind of like feeling claustrophobic, with the aggression level of London driving having nowhere to escape seemed really dangerous.

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    RIP Peterb ik9000's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    agreed. I have to use M25 and I don't enjoy it. I've had to use M-way hard shoulders in the past, most recently in December (albeit overseas for that one). I think I'd probably not be here now if the time we got a blow-out had been on a smart motorway. You can't just drive 2 miles when that happens to you.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    In theory I like the idea of them and I like how on the M6 they are frequently used as additional filter lanes, but after the recent new coverage pointing out that they are only as smart as the people watching the monitors I'm a little more concerned if I even have to use one as a hard shoulder.
    Being in the IT industry I'm well aware that the work I do often replaces peoples jobs which I often don't sit comfortably with but in this situation surely there is room for AI to at least augment a persons job.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Breaking down on the hard shoulder of a normal motorway is scary enough. I've broken down in the red route of the London North circular which wasn't fun but obviously running a lot slower than 70! Must be petrifying if you can't get to one of the lay-bys. If they run the stats and they are significantly more dangerous then I hope they back down on then - guess it's not corporate manslaughter for a politician sadly...

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    My thoughts?

    There's a blooming good reason why if you break down on a motorway, traffic officers always tell you to stop on the hard shoulder (asuming there is one), then get out of the car and on the other side of the barrier (assuming there is one).

    Every watch those "motorway" progs on TV? See people drifting, probably half asleep, onto the hard shoulder? Even flipping great lorries.

    You are far, far safer on the hard shoulder than in a live lane, and even that is russian roulette, with whether an inattentive or half-asleep idiot is heading your way at 70mph .... or more.

    So .... why use live lanes? To ease conjestion, either to save money on expansion, or where expansion isn't possible.

    So it's a trade off between each of us risking our lives, or hwving to deal with conjestion and delays.

    What degree of risk to you life are you willing to take to ease conjestion.

    For me, it's a no-brainer. I'll either face the frustration, go a different way or change travel time. Scrap "smart" motorways. ASAP.

    I thought they wete dangerous as hell when they came in, and haven't changed my mind.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Yup. Bang on Saracen. 'Smart' Motorways are essentially a fudge, a patch job. Not a good idea when you're talking about high-speed vehicles.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    I see lots of "70 MPH" and "Smart motorways" and "hard shoulder open" on this thread. It seems that those who mention this haven't been on a smart motorway whilst the hard shoulder is open.
    I have only ever seen the hard shoulder open when the limit is 60 MPH or lower. The vast majority of the time, if you break down on a smart motorway when the hard shoulder is open, traffic will be nearly stationary any way.

    It's the exceptions to that rule that are the real concern. 60 MPH traffic and a live lane break down.

    The real problem is that smart motorways were supposed to have regular detection of traffic movement via radar so it would become obvious very quickly is there is a breakdown and speed limits can be dropped/lanes closed very quickly. However our governments "governmented" those recommendations and went ahead without the traffic movement detection to save money.

    Final very important point:

    If you ever break down on a motorway and come to a stop in anything but a hard shoulder that is closed to all traffic bar emergencies, NEVER get out of your car. Unless it's on fire or the car is so badly damaged that simply remaining inside is a danger to you because the car you are in is somehow dangerous. Even if you've just been in an accident and it's a bit smashed up. Remain in the car and immediately call 999. Modern phones actually detect you calling 999 and provide a location to give to the emergency services.

    If you are broken down and in the hard shoulder, use your judgement on whether to get out. You've got to balance the risks of getting out and being hit by an inattentive driver when out of your car resulting in almost certain death with the risk of staying in your car with seatbelts on and getting hit by an inattentive driver over a much longer period of time however any impact will be highly unlikely to result in death or serious injury (unless you're in a really old car)
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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Quote Originally Posted by badass View Post
    I see lots of "70 MPH" and "Smart motorways" and "hard shoulder open" on this thread. It seems that those who mention this haven't been on a smart motorway whilst the hard shoulder is open.
    I have only ever seen the hard shoulder open when the limit is 60 MPH or lower. The vast majority of the time, if you break down on a smart motorway when the hard shoulder is open, traffic will be nearly stationary any way.

    It's the exceptions to that rule that are the real concern. 60 MPH traffic and a live lane break down.

    The real problem is that smart motorways were supposed to have regular detection of traffic movement via radar so it would become obvious very quickly is there is a breakdown and speed limits can be dropped/lanes closed very quickly. However our governments "governmented" those recommendations and went ahead without the traffic movement detection to save money.

    Final very important point:

    If you ever break down on a motorway and come to a stop in anything but a hard shoulder that is closed to all traffic bar emergencies, NEVER get out of your car. Unless it's on fire or the car is so badly damaged that simply remaining inside is a danger to you because the car you are in is somehow dangerous. Even if you've just been in an accident and it's a bit smashed up. Remain in the car and immediately call 999. Modern phones actually detect you calling 999 and provide a location to give to the emergency services.

    If you are broken down and in the hard shoulder, use your judgement on whether to get out. You've got to balance the risks of getting out and being hit by an inattentive driver when out of your car resulting in almost certain death with the risk of staying in your car with seatbelts on and getting hit by an inattentive driver over a much longer period of time however any impact will be highly unlikely to result in death or serious injury (unless you're in a really old car)
    quite. If the traffic behind comes to a stop for several (and I mean many) cars behind you, then and only then think about getting out when in a lane of the motorway. If you don't have anyone in the back seats slide the seats back to give more space to your knees, and tuck your feet back towards the seat, not right out forwards which IIRC is more likely to result in broken legs. Then make sure the seat belt is properly on your shoulder, not up at your throat. And sit back in the seat. The impact (if it comes) will be from behind.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Quite simply, dangerous as implemented.

    I live close to the stretch of M20 that 'was' due to open in March. (now seems likely when roadworks finished, it won't open as intended)
    Between Junction 7 and 3, there's 1 or 2 laybys to pull into. no where near enough for that distance. (a long stretch between 6 and 5 has on/off lanes behind concreate barriers, which makes it impossible)
    As far as i know, there are no radar controls being implemented. So signs to close the lanes won't happen quick enough.

    Driving Monday on a 4 lane stretch of the M25. Indicators above lanes showed lanes 1 and 2 closed. Everyone moved over and lane 3 and 4 are stop - start gridlocked.
    At a point where we were out of sight of an over head gantry, suddenly. Cars are zooming past in lanes 1 & 2. So, obviously. Those behind in sight of the gantry, get notification that the lanes are open, and we can't see that.
    Lanes 1 and 2 doing 40 or 50MPH, lanes 3 and 4 gridlocked.

    The idea that if you break down your to stay in your car..... In what is a live lane. Without even the radar detection able to show the lane as closed (ehich in won't be if it goes live on the M20) is actually frightning. And, as shown on panarama. Has killed people.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    follow the money trail..... who got paid for this silly idea

    The fact people have died, who would have possibly lived if there had been a proper hard shoulder, just boils my piss.



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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    The idea and principle make sense but when you're going along then all of a sudden for no reason your 70 becomes a 40 out of nowhere then everyone starts slamming on just before the camera it's shocking.

    I have seen them gradually slow traffic down for accidents then other time just random reductions for no reason.

    The problem I feel is they base this asumption that the everyday driver is going to follow the rules. Most of whom do not. Slow for camera's which is more likely to cause a latter tail back and then speed up between them. If everyone followed the flow it would be great but sadly we're not robots.

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Quote Originally Posted by badass View Post
    ...
    If you are broken down and in the hard shoulder, use your judgement on whether to get out. You've got to balance the risks of getting out and being hit by an inattentive driver when out of your car resulting in almost certain death with the risk of staying in your car with seatbelts on and getting hit by an inattentive driver over a much longer period of time however any impact will be highly unlikely to result in death or serious injury (unless you're in a really old car)

    I can understand getting out of the car (on hard shoulder) and moving further along the road, and ideally up a bank or behind a barrier, so both broken down car and roadside furniture are obstacles between traffic and person.

    But it does my head in when I see people out of their car and standing by the back of their car!

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    Re: Smart Motorways - what's your take?

    Quote Originally Posted by zugged2 View Post
    I can understand getting out of the car (on hard shoulder) and moving further along the road, and ideally up a bank or behind a barrier, so both broken down car and roadside furniture are obstacles between traffic and person.

    But it does my head in when I see people out of their car and standing by the back of their car!
    At least if they're standing behind the car they can carefully watch approaching traffic and have some warning to take ecasive action .... if there are any options to take. But I agree, it's generally a dumbplace to be. Ideal is over the barricade and up a bank, but even then, accidents have been known to involve a car flipping, rolling, going straight over a barricade and even up several dozen feet UP a bank.

    Nothing about motorways, including being in a car on one in normal circumstances. is completely safe. But my view on smart motorways hasn't much changed since my previous post, last year.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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