The Highways Agency has launched a campaign that tells drivers what to do when they see a Red X sign displayed after almost a third of road users admitted they did not know.
Around one in 12 said they would stop if they saw a Red X.
This month (February), as part of the “Get smart, know your motorway” campaign, radio adverts are being aired across the country telling drivers what to do when they see a Red X.
Posters are also on display in motorway service areas, pointing people to the Highways Agency’s website to find out more about the Red X and its use on smart motorways.
A Red X sign is used to identify when a lane is closed and indicates that drivers should move into an open lane to continue their journeys. They are used on smart motorways and other major routes to help manage traffic and incidents effectively and efficiently.
Jamie Hassall, Highways Agency national enforcement co-ordinator, said: “It is pretty simple – if you see a Red X, don’t drive in that lane.
“If you do, you could collide with a broken down vehicle, or with a traffic officer, emergency service crew or recovery operator working in that lane. Complying with the Red X, as most drivers do, means our traffic officers, road workers and emergency services can attend to incidents and reopen lanes more quickly. We urge all drivers to play their part in keeping our motorways flowing and safe by taking responsibility for their own safety and that of others.”
In November last year, on the M25, a Red X sign was set over lane one for 10 minutes to allow recovery of a broken down Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) – 145 vehicles were observed on CCTV failing to comply with the Red X and risking a collision with the stationary vehicle and the traffic officers recovering it.
Between January and November 2014, the Highways Agency asked 4,156 people (National Road User Survey) about the Red X sign; just over two-thirds (68 per cent) understood that a Red X means the lane beneath the sign is closed.