Hard shoulder usage confusion

Hard shoulder usage confusion

With nearly one in five (17 per cent) motorists already believing it is legal to use any hard shoulder in heavy traffic2, the recently introduced ‘hard shoulder running’ scheme3 that is set to go ahead on sections of the M6, M1, M62 and M25, could lead to further uncertainty.

Research commissioned by esure car insurance4 shows that over three quarters of motorists (78 per cent) believe that the new proposal to use the hard shoulder as an extra lane in times of congestion will create confusion.

Research shows that over a third (37 per cent) of motorists have used the hard shoulder to pull over safely after breaking down, demonstrating the importance of the hard shoulder to UK drivers in times of emergency. It is estimated that more than 27 million motorists5 (81 per cent) were worried that the plans would mean that there would not be anywhere safe to stop immediately in the event of an emergency.

Furthermore, 85 per cent of motorists were concerned that emergency services could be prevented from reaching their destinations. Overall, a massive 89 per cent of UK drivers said that they felt safer driving on motorways because of having access to the hard shoulder.

More than half (58 per cent) of those questioned said they wouldn’t feel confident driving on the motorways with no hard shoulder available, and nearly a third (27 per cent) would take an alternative route - even if this added time on to their journey.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: “It is worrying that such a large percentage of UK motorists are concerned about the safety of driving without the use of a hard shoulder. Anything that causes anxiety amongst motorists adds risk on the roads - it can affect concentration levels and lead to accidents. Therefore, these safety concerns of ‘hard shoulder running’ amongst drivers really need to be addressed before any nationwide roll-out.”

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