Your Smart Motorway Guide

Motorists caught committing an offence on smart motorways in England might be offered education courses by police. Constabularies have said the new road policies are puzzling drivers and more understanding is needed. With this in mind, we thought some motorway myth-busters might prove useful for you.

1. Right-Hand Lane

Any vehicle can drive in the right-hand lane: If you’re towing a trailer, or you’re operating a goods vehicle with a maximum laden weight in excess of 7.5 tonnes, it is unlawful for you to drive in the right-hand lane of a motorway.

2. Left-Hand Lane

A motorway’s left hand lane is the HGV lane: A recent AA study showed that some drivers thought that the left-hand lane was the ‘Lorry Lane’, only. In fact, all motorists should keep left all the time, unless overtaking. If the road ahead is free of traffic, stay left. This is also the case if you’re motoring via the middle lane, which is prohibited unless you are overtaking other vehicles.

3. Speed Limit

There is no national speed limit on the motorway: This is categorically untrue. Many motorists believe that you can legitimately drive at speeds of 80 or 90mph. The highest speed limit is 70mph, and even less at 60mph for vehicles more than 7.5tonnes or those towing a trailer or caravan.

4. Pets

If your vehicle breaks down by the side of the motorway and there’s a pet in the car, you can take it out: You and fellow occupants should get out of the car. You should then keep out of harm’s way behind the barrier, and not attempt to get back into your vehicle. However, perhaps astoundingly to some, this reality is not the same for your animal. Any pet should be kept in the vehicle; in the event it runs out onto the motorway.

5. Hard Shoulder

You can pull up on the hard shoulder if you are poorly or need the lavatory: A motorway’s hard shoulder is only for emergencies. This includes a breakdown, if you are signalled to pull over by the police or if you are told to do so by signage. Many motorists think you are lawfully able to stop if you or a passenger feels ill, or needs the loo. However, because of the risks that stopping on the hard shoulder involves, this is not the case at all. If you feel off-colour you should carry on to the next motorway exit, and stop when you can find somewhere legal and safe to park.