UK police have been forced to clamp down on motorists misusing the hard shoulder in non-emergencies after shocking discoveries were made. Drivers were found using the hard shoulder as an extra lane, as well as using it as an area to park in whilst taking photos and picking flowers from the grass banking.
According to the Department of Transport, over 10,000 people have died or been seriously injured on the hard shoulder or in lay-bys since 2000, and that number is only set to increase unless there’s a serious clampdown from police on the issue of hard shoulder misuse.
To clear things up, it’s worth mentioning that the hard shoulder is intended only for use in an emergency. That’s if your car breaks down on the motorway, or if you’re pulled over by the police; no excuses.
The fact that so many people use the hard shoulder for making phone calls and taking photographs of pretty sunsets is shocking considering the rate of death and injury, but it seems most motorists simply aren’t aware of the facts.
Ignorance Certainly Isn’t Bliss
Thanks to the clampdown, ignorance isn’t an excuse anymore when it comes to misusing the hard shoulder. Motorists caught in the act will receive a formal letter of warning followed by a £60 fine if they are caught a second time round.
Many people still believe this to be too lenient, and don’t think it will make much difference. It seems that ignorance has a big part to play in the problem, and until drivers fulfil their responsibility to adhere to the Highway Code, the issue will persist.
If you do find yourself in the position where your car breaks down on the motorway, then of course, you need to pull into the hard shoulder to avoid causing an accident. Once you’re there though, you need to know how to stay safe and avoid injury, or even death. Read up on this online, as if you don’t have a plan of action, the consequences could be dire.
Call your breakdown cover as soon as possible; they often prioritise motorway rescues due to the dangers fast flowing traffic poses to anyone stranded on the hard shoulder. If you don’t have adequate breakdown cover in place, you need to look into getting some or simply find out more at Breakdown Direct about how you can improve your existing policy, or you could fall into trouble.