New research reveals that an increasing number of drivers are taking their own precautionary measures when using smart stretches that are already in operation.
It comes after the government last month announced a five year pause in the introduction of new smart motorways to assess their safety.
A new study for Kwik Fit, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company, has found that 73% of British drivers say they avoid driving on the hard shoulder of a smart motorway, even though the signs show that it is open for traffic.
This proportion has increased from 56% of drivers when the company asked the same question in 2019.
While understanding of the smart motorway signage appears to have improved in the last two years, safety worries have significantly increased.
Concern there may be a stationary vehicle ahead is the most common reason given by drivers who say they avoid the hard shoulder, stated by 31%.
The second most frequent response from motorists who steer clear of the hard shoulder is that they simply don’t think that smart motorways are safe and they therefore drive as if it’s a normal motorway, cited by 30%.
IAM RoadSmart’s latest Safety Culture Report, which tracks drivers’ changing attitudes to key road safety issues over time, discovered that 42 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed at the end of 2021, thought it was acceptable to drive at 80mph on the motorway, compared to 56 per cent six years ago.
In Wales, 37% said they drove at 80 mph on motorways, 22% over 80% while 22% also admitted exceeding the limit in residential streets.