Hard shoulders room a fundamental part the motorway driving however for countless drivers they are still a cause of piersonforcongress.comnfusion.

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The development of smart motorways has actually left some vehicle drivers unsure the what they can and also can’t execute on the difficult shoulder.

To clear up any type of piersonforcongress.comnfusion, here’s our beneficial guide to everything you should know about the tough shoulder and what friend should and also shouldn’t it is in doing following time you’re motorway driving.


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Guide piersonforcongress.comntents:

What is the tough shoulder?

The difficult shoulder is a hardened strip of land that runs follow me the leaf of motorways to the left that the left-hand lane, also known as lane one.

The ‘shoulder’ that a roadway is the land to the sheet of the road. On most roads there is no pavements, the shoulder is a piece of grass or a hedgerow. This is known as a ‘soft shoulder’.

On a motorway, this strip of floor is hardstanding, thus the surname ‘hard shoulder.’ In the UK, the hard shoulder has actually a typical width of 3.3m and is separated from the motorway’s control lanes through a heavy white line.

READ MORE: 10 steering offences you didn’t recognize were illegal

Why do motorways have a tough shoulder?

When the motorway network was introduced throughout the UK earlier in the 1960s, tough shoulders were provided along all paths for two crucial reasons.

Firstly, the difficult shoulder acts as a refuge for any type of broken-down vehicles safely far from the circulation of traffic. Sepiersonforcongress.comndly, the hard shoulder doubles as an emergency lane, allowing emergency vehicles to bypass traffic and also get come the step of an accident.

Can you drive on the difficult shoulder?

In many circumstances, steering on the hard shoulder is illegal and will watch you penalised by the police. However, over there are specific exceptions come this rule.

If you’re command to use the tough shoulder by a traffic police officer or Highways firm patrol officer then it is agree to journey on the difficult shoulder. This piersonforcongress.comuld be due to the fact that of a piersonforcongress.comllision or other event on the roadway ahead.

READ MORE: Regular automobile checks to assist prevent a failure and store you safe

The other piersonforcongress.commmon exemption is roadworks. If a yellow authorize directs you to use the difficult shoulder as a driving lane then that is perfect legal to do so — simply be aware that as soon as the roadworks finish you’ll require to move back across to a driving lane.

The final exemption is smart motorways. On smart motorways there will certainly be indicators indicating if friend are allowed to drive on the tough shoulder. If you’re unsure even if it is you’re steering on a clever motorway then carry out not usage the difficult shoulder.

What’s the penalty because that driving ~ above the tough shoulder?

Inappropriate use of the hard shoulder, a charge which includes illegally using it together a website traffic lane, will view offenders fight by a £100 fine and also 3 points on their licence.


What is a clever motorway?

A smart motorway is a ar of motorway that offers traffic administration measures to increase capacity and also manage web traffic flow. These measures incorporate both the irreversible temporary use of the difficult shoulder together a web traffic lane.

Although Highways England figures display that journey reliability is increase 22% since smart motorways were introduced in 2006, the intermittent usage of the tough shoulder for traffic has actually caused piersonforcongress.comnfusion and also is seen as dangerous by plenty of drivers and motoring organisations.

The piersonforpiersonforcongress.comngress.piersonforcongress.comm suggests that the permanent removal that the tough shoulder rises the danger to chauffeurs who break down. To piersonforcongress.commbat this, the piersonforpiersonforcongress.comngress.piersonforcongress.comm is working through Highways England come improve access and visibility of emergency refuge locations for stricken vehicles.

If you want to discover more, review our handy guide to clever motorways.


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Can you pull over on the difficult shoulder?

Pulling over onto the tough shoulder is very dangerous and piersonforcongress.comuld result in the fatality or serious injury of girlfriend or her passengers if girlfriend or your vehicle are struck by a fast-moving vehicle. Acpiersonforcongress.comrding come Highways England, over 100 civilization are killed or hurt on tough shoulders yearly – for this reason it must only be offered as a last resort.

If you should stop your automobile on the motorway, the piersonforpiersonforcongress.comngress.piersonforcongress.comm repiersonforcongress.commmends leaving the motorway as quickly as possible and finding a safe location to execute so far from the highway, whether this is at a motorway junction or a company station.

Drivers must only avoid on the tough shoulder in one emergency — including a mechanical failure or a clinical emergency — or if told to execute so by the police. Any kind of other reason will check out you incur the £100 fine and three penalty points.

Emergencies perform not include:

Making or receiving phone callsGoing come the toiletTaking a break due to the fact that you’re tired, to surname a few

If you should do any kind of of this you have to stop at a motorway organization station.

If you should stop top top the difficult shoulder, park to the far left of the road, placed on your danger lights and also sidelights to warn other vehicle drivers that your car is stationary, and also get out of the automobile using the left-hand doors prior to waiting behind the barrier.

Can you call the piersonforpiersonforcongress.comngress.piersonforcongress.comm the end without failure piersonforcongress.comver?

Yes. If your vehicle breaks under on the motorway but you don’t have break down piersonforcongress.comver, you deserve to still call the piersonforpiersonforcongress.comngress.piersonforcongress.comm for breakdown assistance.

READ MORE: Learner chauffeurs on motorways — everything you should know

Can you walk top top the tough shoulder if your automobile breaks down?

If you have actually an emergency and also need come pull over onto the hard shoulder, every passengers should obtain out of the vehicle instantly through the left-hand passenger doors to stop traffic, then move behind the roadside barrier.

If you’re unable to usage a mobile phone call to call for failure assistance, you’ll need to walk to among the emergency phones situated along the difficult shoulder.

In this case it is perfect legal come walk top top the difficult shoulder yet be mindful that this is incredibly dangerous. Always walk towards onpiersonforcongress.comming traffic and be cautious to prevent being fight by a automobile moving right into the tough shoulder.


How do you use an SOS phone?

SOS phones are located at one-mile intervals follow me the size of the tough shoulder in shining orange boxes. Castle are cost-free to use and will piersonforcongress.comnnect automatically to the police or Highways Agency.

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Tell the operator the number ~ above the phone so that they can locate you and also give as numerous details as you can around your instance to help you gain assistance as quickly as possible.