Plans to reduce hard shoulders sparks debate

February 15, 2016 | By | In Advice

The decision to begin removing 500 miles of hard shoulder along sections of Britain’s busiest motorways has been slammed by senior traffic officers.

The move has been dubbed to post “significant risks” to motorists, by leaving drivers who break down with nowhere to go. These stranded drivers could be the cause of even more dangerous and potentially life-threatening incidents.

Metropolitan Police said that the changes would end up being counterproductive, as a stranded vehicle on a motorway without a hard shoulder to park in “is far more likely to result in a serious injury fatality” according to The Times.

A spokesman for Highways England told the paper: “As we gradually roll out these upgrades on other motorways we will continue to work closely with all emergency services so we can ensure safety is maintained.”

A total of 212 miles of motorway have already had the hard shoulder removed, with emergency lay-bys spaced every 1.5 miles proving run-off for vehicles experiencing problems.

These motorways have managed speed limits which adjust according to how much traffic is on the road. Red X symbols are also displayed on overhead gantries to warn motorists about any lane closures that may take place.

Despite being put in place to ease congestion on busy roads, the lack of a hard shoulder has been called a bad idea by many, with commentators saying that it would make it difficult for emergency services to reach their destinations. On top of this, foreign HGV drivers have been mistakenly sleeping in the emergency lay-bys after thinking they were rest areas.

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