UKC

/ No more hard shoulders

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MG - on 08 Mar 2018

Just picking up on a comment on another thread.  As hard-shoulders disappear, what are you meant to do if you breakdown on a motorway with no hard shoulder? Often there is no where to go, not even a soft verge.

Or, as happened to me the other week, your washers freeze and you can't see anything?  I was seriously considering winding the window down to look out.

Jon Greengrass on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

vote for higher taxes and an MP that would support legislation to reduce the national speed limit to 60mph on roads without a hard shoulder. 

13
MG - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

How does that help?  Typically I find speeds are closer to 40mph anyway on these roads.

teh_mark on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

Including the M1? There are large sections of major motorway now without hard shoulders. I don't think the solution is to reduce the speed limit to 60mph, the solution is to stop repurposing the hard shoulder as a quick fix to increasing road capacity.

2
balmybaldwin - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

It's a worry, but generally the hardshoulder is only open on these smart motorways when the traffic is slow

gethin_allen on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> It's a worry, but generally the hardshoulder is only open on these smart motorways when the traffic is slow

They claim that the inside lane is constantly monitored so that if a vehicle stops there warning signs are turned on and the lane closed. I've often wondered how fast this would happen as I've had catastrophic breakdowns that have binning the car into the hard shoulder with only second to spare.

teh_mark on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to balmybaldwin:

But on some sections of motorway the hard shoulder doesn't actually exist anymore, having been converted into a new running lane.

A Longleat Boulderer - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

> Or, as happened to me the other week, your washers freeze and you can't see anything?  I was seriously considering winding the window down to look out.

Hate to be that guy... but seriously? You knew the weather was going to be pretty damn atrocious and didn't even top up your washer fluid with antifreeze? I mean... that is the simple most basic number one task before cold weather. Closely followed with snow chains in the boot, shovel and warm clothes/sleeping bag.

Appreciate the point with other less mindless issues however. Puncture, medical issue etc etc.

 

15
wintertree - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> Hate to be that guy... but seriously? You knew the weather was going to be pretty damn atrocious and didn't even top up your washer fluid with antifreeze?

November 2011, I ran my washers to exhaustion and filled it up with liquid rated at -10oC.  It was -8pC air temperature and it froze all over my windscreen when used.  I’m not sure the rating on all bottles of screenwash is trustworthy.  

1
A Longleat Boulderer - on 08 Mar 2018
MG - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

Why the aggression?  I had topped up with antifreeze...

1
cas smerdon - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> It's a worry, but generally the hardshoulder is only open on these smart motorways when the traffic is slow

This is not true. The first ‘smart motorways ‘ had extra gantries and the hard shoulder was only used as a running lane at busy times and could be closed quickly. 

Now much of the M5 and M6 has been converted to 4 lanes with no extra gantries to control speed or shut lanes. Emergency areas are about 3 miles apart. How can you drive 3 miles with a blown tyre or if the engine cuts out? They still call them smart motorways but they don’t seem very smart to me. I personally avoid the inside lane unless I can see a long way ahead which defeats the object!

A Longleat Boulderer - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

> Why the aggression?  I had topped up with antifreeze...

Sorry, not meaning to come across in an aggressive manner. My apologies, perhaps unfair for accuse you of negligence. You clearly tried! Sorry.

Anyway, for everyone's benefit: always best to check the forecast when it's likely to be unusually cold and use something good with a 50:50 mix. Triple QX Red or similar. If you've still got some of the shitty service station stuff still in there, make sure you squirt it out before filling up. Also worth taking a thermos in your car with hot water to attack the jets themselves if they freeze up- though generally avoided by making sure you've sprayed a bit of the good mix through in all but the harshest weather.

Post edited at 18:52
1
Paul Evans - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

I agree you are on the right track with using a quality winter screenwash with antifreeze additives. However, both of the links you have provided are to engine antifreeze / coolant. This is not the same thing as, and should not be used instead of, screenwash with antifreeze. It is greasy, so will smear your windscreen, and it aint't that good for your paintwork either. 

Cheers

Paul

Siward on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

It matters not, alas, what the recommendation is. Only if everyone took heed of it would it help. They don't. Thus a hard shoulder, an intrinsic and sensible part of the motorway system since they were designed, should be retained.  Calling them "smart motorways" is a huge attempted con, nothing more.

Ridge - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> You get what you pay for. If it's going to be very cold, best to have a bottle of this in the garage ready.

You put engine coolant in your screenwash?

Interesting idea...

Ridge - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Beat me to it. Petrol would be cheaper, stays liquid at much lower temperatures, and you can set fire to the windscrren for an instant defrost. I'm going to give it a go.

BnB - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

> It matters not, alas, what the recommendation is. Only if everyone took heed of it would it help. They don't. Thus a hard shoulder, an intrinsic and sensible part of the motorway system since they were designed, should be retained.  Calling them "smart motorways" is a huge attempted con, nothing more.

I use a smart motorway every time I go to work in Leeds and I thank the authorities who initiated the conversion every time. The occasions when the hard shoulder is occupied by a broken down car or the vestiges of an accident are remarkably few, but the time and stress I endure over that stretch of motorway are significantly reduced every single journey. The conversion to smart running is a spectacular success.

1
blurty - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to BnB:

Similarly the M42 to the East of Brum is miles better than it used to be. There are reasonably frequent laybys off the hard shoulder that can be used for emergencies, if one can make it to them of course.

gethin_allen on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

I wouldn't stick that in your washer bottle, that's engine coolant/antifreeze (phosphoric acid base i think) and would probably make a real mess of your paintwork.

Stick to recommending things that you know about.

jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

If you break down and can't get to one of the many refuge lay-bys you slow, pull as far as you can over to the left leaving space to get out that side, hazards on, get everyone out and behind the barrier, let the people managing the motorway do their thing with the signs. Motorways without hard shoulders are all actively managed. Generally the speed limit will have been reduced already to 50 or 60 because the extra lane was in use and heavy traffic will quickly snarl up behind you protecting your car from someone hitting it at the speed limit until the signs have been changed to reduce the limit further and close the lane.

jk

Post edited at 10:13
jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> Including the M1? There are large sections of major motorway now without hard shoulders. I don't think the solution is to reduce the speed limit to 60mph, the solution is to stop repurposing the hard shoulder as a quick fix to increasing road capacity.

In the coming decades technology will massively boost the efficiency of existing road infrastructure and potentially reduce our dependence on/use of it, there's no point spending 100's of billions now on widespread extra physical capacity when in a lot of cases technology can safely unlock what we already have and will continue to increase throughput of existing roads as it evolves.

jk

Neil Williams - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to cas smerdon:

> This is not true. The first ‘smart motorways ‘ had extra gantries and the hard shoulder was only used as a running lane at busy times and could be closed quickly. 

> Now much of the M5 and M6 has been converted to 4 lanes with no extra gantries to control speed or shut lanes. Emergency areas are about 3 miles apart. How can you drive 3 miles with a blown tyre or if the engine cuts out? They still call them smart motorways but they don’t seem very smart to me. I personally avoid the inside lane unless I can see a long way ahead which defeats the object!

They do seem to have saved a bit of money by having one large sign at the left rather than repeated gantries, but those motorways can still close lanes and set speed limits just like the other type.  They do it by showing something like:

X ^ ^ ^

to show left lane closed on the large sign.  There are periodic gantries and those are still used.

I must admit I don't like them as much as they don't seem as obvious as the gantries, but they are still smart motorways with all the other features.

Ian W - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to blurty:

> Similarly the M42 to the East of Brum is miles better than it used to be. There are reasonably frequent laybys off the hard shoulder that can be used for emergencies, if one can make it to them of course.

I (my company, anyway) used to make the LED displays used on the smart motorways. The initial trial was the M42 east of Brum, and the findings were that average traffic flow increased by 12mph, and the number of speeding tickets issued fell by nearly 50% within a month of the trial starting, and maintained at the better rates throughout. The full results / analysis are on the Highways website somewhere if anyone has a few hours to spare......

A brilliant scheme for when times are busy, but its a pain when travelling late at night on empty roads where I may or may not have made "better than average" progress before the advent of the cameras......

teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> Generally the speed limit will have been reduced already to 50 or 60 because the extra lane was in use

That's simply not true - on sections of motorway where the hard shoulder has been permanently converted to a running lane, that lane is the new lane 1. The speed limit shouldn't have been reduced because it's in use, because every vehicle on the motorway that isn't overtaking should be in that lane.

jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> That's simply not true - on sections of motorway where the hard shoulder has been permanently converted to a running lane, that lane is the new lane 1. The speed limit shouldn't have been reduced because it's in use, because every vehicle on the motorway that isn't overtaking should be in that lane.

Sorry, you've lost me slightly. On all the managed sections I use frequently it's standard practice to only open the left lane when the load is high and that generally is accompanied by a speed limit reduction across all lanes, dropping the limit increases throughput by allowing density to increase safely and it reduces the frequency and severity of shockwaves which form in dense traffic.

Multi-lane motorways at full capacity don't operate in the same way an unmanaged 2 or 3 lane, flow & overtaking lane motorway with light load does.

It's nearly 20 years since the M42 was converted, the design and safe operation of managed motorway is pretty well refined. I didn't like it at the time but the reality is it and others converted since do work much better than before especially when busy.

jk

Post edited at 12:12
teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

The modern approach is to convert the hard shoulder into a permanent running lane, as has happened on large parts of the M1, bits of the M5, M62, etc. In this instance there is no hard shoulder, period. What used to be the hard shoulder is now lane 1.

jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

That's not my experience of any of those roads, they frequently have the left lane closed in light conditions. The fact is they are well understood, designed and managed, they work very well indeed.

jk

1
teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

To add, I'm not saying that smart motorways are a bad idea - especially the dynamic hard shoulder variety which, if nothing else, are fantastic because very few drivers stuck in congestion seem to take the hard shoulder option when it's open. Win!

My problem is all lane running, having seen first-hand how many drivers will happily drive through a lane closed sign. Maybe it's a southern phenomenon.

jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

That's talking about the M25 which is congested and severely speed limited almost 24/7. It handles heavy loads miles better than it used to and I'd be astonished if the shift to active management has made it less safe per journey, I doubt it's even less safe over-all than it was 20 years ago despite getting ever busier.

jk

1
Ian W - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran and teh_mark;

> That's simply not true - on sections of motorway where the hard shoulder has been permanently converted to a running lane, that lane is the new lane 1. The speed limit shouldn't have been reduced because it's in use, because every vehicle on the motorway that isn't overtaking should be in that lane.

> Sorry, you've lost me slightly. On all the managed sections I use frequently it's standard practice to only open the left lane when the load is high and that generally is accompanied by a speed limit reduction across all lanes, dropping the limit increases throughput by allowing density to increase safely and it reduces the frequency and severity of shockwaves which form in dense traffic.

> Multi-lane motorways at full capacity don't operate in the same way an unmanaged 2 or 3 lane, flow & overtaking lane motorway with light load does.

> It's nearly 20 years since the M42 was converted, the design and safe operation of managed motorway is pretty well refined. I didn't like it at the time but the reality is it and others converted since do work much better than before especially when busy.

> jk

You are both right regarding the use of left hand lane, although it is trending now to a permanent lane 1 style. However the lower speed limit is part of the overall cunning plan. It reduces speed changes and does increase flow on congested motorways.

teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

I give up. It's irrefutable fact that large sections of the M1 and smaller sections of many other motorways have been converted to all lane running. If you need a concrete example with your own eyes, take a drive past Chesterfield on the M1.

Or if you're happy with a comprehensive reference, try Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_motorway

jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

I do use that section occasionally. It works fine.

jk

teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

It works fine, I agree. With a bit more perception you might notice that what used to be the hard shoulder is now lane 1, and that the hard shoulder no longer exists.

jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> It works fine, I agree. With a bit more perception you might notice that what used to be the hard shoulder is now lane 1, and that the hard shoulder no longer exists.

Erm... that's the whole point of the thread unless we're getting into some really weird pedantry over lane nomenclature? I don't understand what your problem with that is, the upgraded sections of all the roads you've mentioned work miles better than they used to and there is no evidence I'm aware of that they've created a new class of accident.

jk

teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

My point was that your assertion that the lane is only open during congested times is plain wrong on more modern sections of smart motorway, where the hard shoulder simply does not exist anymore and is a permanent running lane, always open to traffic unless there's an ongoing incident, the implication being that lane 1, formerly the hard shoulder, often operates at national speed limit, being just another normal motorway lane.

I'm not arguing that smart motorways are a bad idea, merely that you're not presenting a wholly accurate view of how they work in many situations.

I can't possibly make the point any clearer, so I'm going to bow out.

Post edited at 13:22
DancingOnRock - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to MG:

Pull over as far as you can. Get out of the car carefully and preferably via the passenger door. And then get over the barrier and as far away from your car as possible.

At one point the life expectancy of someone on the M25 hard shoulder was 25mins. It was never a very safe place to be in the first place. 

Post edited at 13:28
jkarran - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> My point was that your assertion that the lane is only open during congested times is plain wrong on more modern sections of smart motorway, where the hard shoulder simply does not exist anymore and is a permanent running lane, always open to traffic unless there's an ongoing incident, the implication being that lane 1, formerly the hard shoulder, often operates at national speed limit, being just another normal motorway lane.

Lane 1 becoming a hard-shoulder when needed and the hard-shoulder becoming lane 1 when needed and available are functionally the same thing to someone who needs to stop and can't make a refuge. The only thing we're arguing over is the speed limit which is frequently reduced when there is heavy flow but you're right, there are sections under some conditions that operate at 70 without the hard shoulder when it is safe for them to do so. The key point being when it is safe, that's managed and very effectively.

We don't need more tarmac, at least not as a general solution to congestion.

jk

1
A Longleat Boulderer - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to gethin_allen, paul evans, Ridge:

> I wouldn't stick that in your washer bottle, that's engine coolant/antifreeze (phosphoric acid base i think) and would probably make a real mess of your paintwork.

> Stick to recommending things that you know about.

Yes, my hasty mistake. Meant to recommend Triple QX washer fluid concentrate, not coolant. Though the coolant is also pretty good and was in my kit car. Colour and bottle are basically the same... googling error on my phone. Point still stands... by quality and mix it yourself depending on temps.

Post edited at 14:05
Deadeye - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> Hate to be that guy... but

So don't be

 

A Longleat Boulderer - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

Sometimes we all need reminding, though yes, I did it in an unnecessarily dickish way. I have already apologised.

Post edited at 14:31
MG - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> Sometimes we all need reminding, though yes, I did it in an unnecessarily dickish way. I have already apologised.

Indeed, thanks. 

Generally I think using less antifreeze is desirable because it's not very nice stuff and spraying it all over the roads can't be good.  This is especially true of coolant type stuff which is toxic.

blurty - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> We don't need more tarmac, at least not as a general solution to congestion.

> jk

Agreed - If we can just get past the next few years, class 5 autonomous vehicles will mean the road network capacity problems will be solved for years to come

ian caton on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to jkarran:

Seems to me there are two models. e.g. m62 near Leeds where it very much looks like a hard shoulder that can be opened when it's busy. Then there is the M6 where it is just a 4 lane motorway without a hard shoulder, period.

Looks very scary but it seems to me that there is just a bit more space between the crash barrier and the verge than there used to be and if you got tucked right in, traffic might still flow. Not a place I would like to change a tyre. 

But then compare this with some of the alpine tunnels or the Paris perefer..eek and you get a sense of perspective.


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