Smart motorways

Road safety tips

Smart motorways use technology to keep you moving at busy times. You will see speed limits displayed in a solid red ring overhead and along the roadside.

When traffic builds up, monitoring sensors activate lower speeds. This smooths congestion and helps prevent stop-start traffic so that you can get where you need to go, on time.

If someone breaks down, lanes can be closed (indicated by a red x over that lane). The speed limit will change to slow traffic while the incident is managed. This is safer for drivers, traffic officers and the emergency services.

Because the speed limits on smart motorways can change, some drivers fail to realise that they are still legal speed limits – and they are getting caught out.

So Highways England are launching a 'Better watch your speed' campaign this summer to encourage drivers to stick to the speed limits on England’s smart motorway network.

Top tips to stay safe & legal 

There are 5 points to remember about speed limits on smart motorways:

  • Watch your speed do not exceed speed limits displayed in a red ring.
  • On time journeys speed limits vary at busy times to keep the traffic flowing, keep you moving and make your journey more reliable.
  • Be safe millions use our motorways every day, so think about how the decisions you make on your journey affect others.
  • Don’t risk it speed limits on smart motorways are enforced by the police and if you break the speed limit you will be prosecuted.
  • Respect our road workers do your bit to save lives by driving carefully, sticking to the stated speed limit and keeping our road workers safe.

View the campaign: Better watch your speed

Road safety tips

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