Now that the snow and ice is behind us (fingers crossed) the roadworks have started and repairs are being made. This could affect our daily commute to work, or even prolong the school run.

Narrower lanes, slow traffic and fraying tempers all add to the challenge of reaching to our destination in time. But as long as you drive carefully and plan your journey, it needn’t be stressful.

Here’s some advice from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, to ensure your motorway journey through roadworks is as safe and stress-free as possible.

  • Ideally, you should check the status of any roads you plan to use beforehand. If there are significant amounts of repair works and you think you might get caught up in traffic consider taking a different route, even if it means covering a few more miles. Google Maps is always a good one to check before you leave the house as it often shows the roadworks and will suggest alternative routes
  • If there’s no alternative route, give yourself more time to travel and ensure you have plenty of fuel. Running out of fuel is one of the most common reasons for a breakdown on the motorway, so don’t risk running on a low tank
  • Maintain a safe following distance of at least two seconds in the dry and at least four seconds in wet weather, and if other traffic moves into your gap adjust it by slowing very slightly. You won’t add more than a couple of seconds to your journey
  • Try and look as far ahead as possible (this is where the following distance can help too). There may be a lane that’s restricted and marked off by cones. If it is safe to do so, merge in turn if vehicles are travelling at low speed
  • Keep an eye out for any roadwork signs that give you particular instructions. There may also be a temporary maximum speed limit that you will need to adhere to
  • Average speed cameras are also common where long term roadworks are in force – be prepared to slow down throughout. They are there for your safety and the safety of the workforce
  • If you are going to use cruise control, make sure you know how to cancel it safely. A better option will be a speed limiter which will allow you to slow in response to the traffic, but help to prevent any momentary lapse in speed control if the road clears

Richard said: “If you can see traffic building up then avoid switching lanes too often. Changing lanes on extremely busy roads will increase your chances of being involved in a collision and also slows down traffic flow.

“So long as you stay alert and plan ahead, your journey should be a safe and stress free one.”

James Ash


Content Marketing Executive at

May 30, 2018