A road traffic accident can happen to any of us, even the most careful of drivers. No matter how vigilant you are on the roads, this can always be offset by a third-party driver who simply isn’t as cautious as you are, and as such road-related accidents occur.
If you hold a driving licence, you should know that stopping on the hard shoulder, unless in the case of an emergency, is illegal and increases the risk of accidents on the motorway. If you are caught, you can face a fine of £60 and points will be added to your licence.
Motorway accidents: Illegal hard shoulder stops
Despite the significant dangers associated with stopping on the hard shoulder, The Highways Agency has reported that in the three-month period between July and September 2013, a total of 2,062 drivers chose to stop on the hard shoulder, when there was absolutely no emergency.
To stress the absurdity of the situation, The Highways Agency has also revealed a number of abysmal excuses that drivers have stated for their illegal hard shoulder stops.
These included picking roadside flowers, biking enthusiasts who stopped for a chat and a mobile phone operator who chose the hard shoulder as an ideal location to test mobile signals. Among the most obscure reasons was the decision by grandparents to stop and take photographs of their grandchild.
It is obvious that these are not legal reasons for stopping on the hard shoulder. These drivers are responsible for unnecessarily risking increasing the accidents on the motorway.
Avoiding motorway accidents: How to use the hard shoulder correctly
In May 2013, The BBC reported that over 800 individuals suffered injuries or were killed due to hard shoulder road accidents. This is a very real issue for motorists.
Jamie Hassall, Highways Agency national enforcement co-ordinator, said: “Every day, millions of people use our motorways. Most of them use the hard shoulder correctly and don’t ignore red Xs, but we are appealing to the few who put themselves, other road users, and those working on motorways, at risk.
“Where the hard shoulder is used as an additional traffic lane at peak times, you can only drive on it if there is a speed limit over it. When a red X is displayed over any lane, it’s simple – don’t drive on it.”
Accident Advice Helpline
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Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice