We all want to get things done quickly and efficiently, but sometimes it doesn’t quite go to plan and when we cut corners it can sometimes lead to dangerous consequences.
Almost One In Five Drivers Will Spend Over A Year Of Their Lives In Traffic JamsAnd that's without all the other wasted time spent trolling through menus on the telephone and then waiting for a human being to answer while listening to muzak occasionally interrupted by a recorded message saying "thank you for holding, your call is important to us and an operative will be with you shortly" or waiting for a webpage to load that's rammed full of bit heavy crap advertising, Which altogether puts you in a foul mood before you even get into the car and makes you wonder how anybody gets anything done anytime and whether it's actually worth getting out of bed in the morning. Anyway, onwards.
New research from AA Tyres found that 17% of British drivers will spend over a year of their lives stuck in traffic jams. The research also shows motorists across the UK as a whole spend 38.25 million hours in traffic jams each week - that's more than 1.98 billion hours a year.
In London, more than a quarter (27%) of respondents estimated they got caught up on congested roads for at least three hours a week, compared to Scotland (11%) and Wales (13%). And one in ten Londoners said they spend at least an hour a day in traffic jams. Full story here.
So to keep the traffic moving somebody came up with the bright idea to use the hard shoulders on motorways, otherwise known as “Smart Motorways”, as an extra lane to save a bit of money on actually widening the motorway or, god forbid, actually provide a decent public transport system.
And now, report The AA, the Government has agreed to review the spacing and length of Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA) on Smart Motorways in their response to the Transport Select Committee report.
Government responds to AA concerns on Smart Motorways
Government agrees to review the length and spacing of Emergency Refuge Areas
The change follows calls from the AA to at least double the number of ERAs and make them twice as long.
In everyday language, make them more like, er ..... hard shoulders ....
A recent study by the AA of over 20,500 drivers found that more than three quarters (79%)* felt motorways were more dangerous due to the removal of the hard shoulder.Meanwhile, responding to news that MPs have accused the Department for Transport of ignoring safety concerns about all lane running, Caroline Russell, London Assembly member and transport spokesperson for the Green Party, said the government should instead reduce speed limits to increase capacity.
Commenting on the report, Edmund King OBE, AA president said: “We are pleased that the Government is willing to review the length and spacing of Emergency Refuge Areas on current and future schemes.
“We believe the recently announced plans for the 32-mile stretch of the M4 should be immediately reviewed to incorporate the potential for more and longer ERAs.
“Four out of five drivers are scared about using Emergency Refuge Areas, some even dubbing them “death zones”, so the Government needs to act now to improve this perception.
“We will continue to put the case forward for making improvements to Smart Motorways on behalf of motorists across the country.”
The AA also believes that temporary use of the hard-shoulder (dynamic hard shoulder) is preferable to permanent All Lane Running as it may give the police and other emergency services better access to serious collisions. Report here.
Russell said: "Using the hard shoulder as a running lane on motorways makes no sense. The AA report of broken down cars being rear ended while stranded between emergency lay-bys is a perfect illustration of the dangers posed by all lane running on so-called ‘smart motorways’.
"If the government wants to increase the capacity of existing roads it would do far better to stick to reducing speed limits, cutting the stopping distance needed between cars. This would allow more cars to use the road, reduce the likelihood of crashes and avoid the need for ‘death-zone’ lay-bys."