Woman dies in smart motorway breakdown crash | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Woman dies in smart motorway breakdown crash

Share this story...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this pageBuffer this pagePin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on Tumblr

A woman has died on a stretch of smart motorway on the English network near Sheffield when the car she was in broke down on the northbound carriageway and was then crashed into.

The Times reports that it is believed that the 62-year-old woman, who was a passenger, got out and was standing near by when a Mercedes E-class collided with the Nissan Qashqai and then her.  It says  30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The stretch, between junction 30 and 31, has been converted into a smart motorway with no hard shoulder and differential speed limits to keep traffic flowing at peak times with Red X signs warning other motorists not to use that lane in the event of a breakdown.

The Times adds that it is believed that police are investigating if the signs were operating at the time or whether the driver of the second car ignored or missed the signal.

Edmund King, president of the AA, told the paper, “This is an unlit stretch of road and a car stationary in lane one — whether or not they had their hazard lights on — would have been difficult to see at speed. Unfortunately it backs up the concerns we have been airing for the last three or four years that we need more emergency areas where cars can pull off the road if they are in trouble.”

A Highways England spokesman commented to it, “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the woman involved in the tragic incident on the M1 near Sheffield on Sunday evening. As police investigations are ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. We can reassure drivers that safety is and always will be our top priority.”

In response to this news story, SMART Highways Editor Paul Hutton was asked to explain smart motorways on BBC Local Radio.  Listen to his interview here.


Interesting at statement that making drivers more confident by putting more refuges is necessarily a good thing, having also said that hard shoulders are dangerous places (correctly). Part of the problem might be argued to be over-confidence and under-attention of drivers, (not paying enough attention, and late response to a stopped vehicle) so perhaps lots of refuges might make people less careful? I wouldn’t want drivers to be over-stressed, but too much of the time they’re complacent, and hard shoulder impacts might indicate this lack of adequate attention?