Mind that Red X
The AA has expressed safety concerns about the removal of the hard shoulder from hundreds of miles of so-called smart motorways. Drivers and Fleet Managers should ensure that they are familiar with the rules that apply to these new highways.
Written by Paul Brown on 29th October 2019
The most important feature of the new smart motorways is the Red X sign used to show when a lane is closed due to an incident, or obstruction. If a red X is displayed, drivers must not proceed further in the lane indicated, driving in a red X lane is dangerous and can lead to a penalty, or prosecution.
Further recent research by the RAC has also found that around 20% of drivers admitted to accidentally passing a red X sign whilst a further 3% deliberately ignored the sign!
Whilst 99% of drivers surveyed correctly understood what red X signs mean, nearly half reported they frequently see drivers ignoring these signs.
As a result the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has updated rule 258 of the Highway Code to reflect recent changes in legislation affecting lane closures on smart motorways.
Red flashing lights. If red lights flash on a signal and a red "X" is showing, you MUST NOT drive in the lane shown as closed beyond the signal. This applies until you pass another signal indicating that the lane is no longer closed, by displaying the word "End" or a speed limit sign and you are sure that it is safe to proceed.
Red flashing lights. If red lights flash on a signal in the central reservation or on the side of the road and lane closed sign is showing, you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in any lane.The Highway Code can be found on the GOV.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code