Smart Motorways: The Ultimate Guide

Smart motorways in the United Kingdom have started to take over our motorway network. The M25 was the first motorway to be fitted with this technology and since then the technology has been adapted and improved and moved around the motorway networks.

The issue that these motorways have are that motorists do not fully understand what the symbols displayed on the gantries mean and how to interpret them. Online car buying company The Car Buying Group suggest to obtain a greater understanding of this it is worth revisiting the correct rules for travelling on a motorway in the first place.

Firstly, the maximum speed limit for a motorcar on a motorway is 70mph. HGV’s, buses and people carrying trailers have differing speed limits, lower than 70mph. It is essential to consult the Highway Code to clarify the maximum speed that your vehicle is allowed to travel on the motorway.

To clear up some myths, motorways on the UK do not have ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ lanes. There is lane one, which is situated on the left hand side of a motorway, next to the hard shoulder. Then there are a further two or three overtaking lanes which are only there for overtaking purposes. These lanes should not be used for the duration of your journey whilst on the motorway, as doing this causes congestion and is dangerous as it can lead to undertaking by other motorists.

Smart motorways have been introduced but these rules still remain the same. The major difference now is that on the overhead gantries, at peak or busy times or if an incident has occurred, the speed indicated in the gantry above your lane must be adhered to. For example, if there is a red circle with a ‘50’ in the middle of it, you must not exceed 50mph. this has to be adhered to a there are speed cameras on each gantry. If you see a red X in the gantry above your lane, this means your lane has been closed and you need to move out your lane as soon as it’s safe to do so. For further explanation, you can refer to the Highway Code here.

The advent of smart motorways also helps congestion and keeps the motorways flowing as long as motorist adhere to these basic rules.