More and more smart motorways have been introduced across the UK in recent years. They are designed to improve traffic flow, in some cases by opening up the hard shoulder as an additional lane, or by reducing the speed limit to prevent tailbacks.
However, a recent poll by Kwik Fit found that one in four drivers believe smart motorways are unsafe.
One of the most common complaints was a lack of clear signage. But other worries among drivers were hitting a stationary vehicle or getting a puncture after hitting debris in the hard shoulder.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, told the newspaper that if many drivers still avoid the hard shoulder even when it’s open for traffic, smart motorways won’t have the desired effect.
He said that if motorists avoid the hard shoulder this means “the extra capacity which smart motorways are designed to provide is not being utilised properly and we will end up being in a worse position than with the original road layout”.
The M3 near Winchester could be one of the next stretches of motorway to be upgraded in this way. The Hampshire Chronicle recently reported that local residents have been invited to meetings about the proposals for the M3 to learn more about the scheme.