Whenever we travel, we put ourselves at risk of experiencing a road traffic accident. Whether due to careless driving, human error or an untimely lapse in concentration, accidents on the road are a real danger that all drivers face every time they take to the roads.
With this in mind, it is essential that drivers do all they can to minimise the risk road accidents. Following simple laws – such as using the hard shoulder only in an emergency – doesn’t seem to be viewed as integral by all.
Causes of motorway accidents: Hard shoulder misuse
Earlier this year, The Highways Agency reported that in the three months between June and September 2013, 2,062 drivers stopped on the hard shoulder.
Of course, a large percentage of the hard shoulder stops were legitimate emergencies, however, The Highways Agency have found that some drivers are increasing the chances of accidents on the motorway by using the hard shoulder illegally.
Amidst the drivers who use the hard shoulder illegally, The Highways Agency has stated some shocking excuses that drivers provided for their stops. These included picking flowers, taking photographs of grandchildren and taking a nap. One of the most bizarre reasons was a motorist stopping to obtain car insurance quotes.
It goes without saying, these are not acceptable reasons for using the hard shoulder and undoubtedly increase the risk of accidents on the road.
Using the hard shoulder correctly
In response to the recent findings, 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.”
It was in May 2013 that the BBC published a report stating that, since 2000, over 800 people have been killed or seriously injured on the hard shoulder.
This considered, it could be argued that the £60 fine and licence points that the offence carries is not harsh enough on drivers who choose to use the hard shoulder illegally and cause motorway accidents.
Claiming for your road traffic accident
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Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice