Smart highways keep classic car owners away

Smart highways keep classic car owners away: drivers on older models take detours to avoid wrecking prized possession in live lanes

  • About 10 per cent of motorways in England are smart motorways
  • They use methods such as turning the shoulders into a straight running lane
  • Classic car drivers ‘are too afraid and avoid crashing on smart motorways’

Classic car owners take detours to avoid smart highways for fear of being hit from behind while stopped in live lanes.

Drivers of cars over 25 years old said that highways without hard shouldering have “too many hazards” because the age of their cars makes them particularly vulnerable to breakdowns.

AA President Edmund King said government and national highways should ‘go back to the drawing board’ and put the all-lane smart highway inner lane back onto a hard shoulder.

The risk: Owners of models like this 1972 E-Type fear live lanes. The 2016 National Highways Report showed difficulties in detecting small cars that had stopped in live lanes. But the company is confident that technology has since improved this

Alan Hammes, who was a highway engineer for more than 50 years before his retirement, said he takes smart highway avoidance paths when driving a 1972 Jaguar E-Type.

He added 26 miles to the journey back from his home in Northamptonshire to a recent car event in London using the M40 – which has a stiff shoulder – instead of the M1, which does not.

The 80-year-old said that crashing on a smart motorway “brings a lot of dangers to classic car owners”. I know many other classic car owners who take long detours to avoid these clever highway death traps. The hard shoulder at least gives drivers the option to reach relative safety.

About 10 per cent of motorways in England are smart motorways. They use traffic control methods such as turning shoulders into a live running lane and variable speed limits. ‘I regularly hear from drivers of Jaguar cars – classic and modern – who are so afraid of crashing on nimble highways that they go to great lengths to avoid them,’ said Gaynor Cotter, editor of Jaguar Driver magazine, ‘and I include myself in that number. She said.

“However, on some trips, it is almost impossible to avoid.”

Motorists older than 25 said highways without hard shoulder have 'too many dangers' because the age of their cars makes them particularly vulnerable to crashing.

Motorists older than 25 said highways without hard shoulder have ‘too many dangers’ because the age of their cars makes them particularly vulnerable to crashing.

The 2016 National Highways Report showed difficulties in detecting small cars that had stopped in live lanes. But the company is confident that technology has since improved this.

The Bureau of Railways and Roads’ safety regulator said this month that the detection rates for stopped vehicles in the five national highway areas with smart highways without a hard shoulder ranged between 59.6 and 79.6 percent, below the 80 percent target. “Work is now underway to improve the system to make journeys on our busiest roads safer and more reliable,” said Andrew Page-Duff, National Highways Operational Control Director.

In January, following the Daily Mail’s campaign, then Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordered about 120 miles of smart motorway projects to be halted until safety data was available for five years.

Surveys have shown that many drivers do not use the inside lane on smart highways because they are concerned that a broken down car may be in front of them. “Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called smart highways unsafe.

The new smart highways have been shut down but urgent action is needed on the current confusion. Restoring a solid shoulder and enforcing better track discipline might do the trick.

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