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Smart Motorways

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Highways England Smart Motorways 

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


When traffic builds up, the 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 a lane can be closed (indicated by a red x over that lane). Highways England will change the speed limit to slow traffic while they manage the incident. This is safer for drivers, Traffic Officers and the emergency services.



Don’t be caught out.


Because the speed limits on smart motorways can change, some drivers don’t realise they are still legal speed limits – and they are getting caught out.


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

The messages

This summer Highways England are reminding drivers of five points to remember about speed limits on smart motorways. 

  1. Watch your speed: you must stick to speed limits displayed in a red ring
  2. On time journeys: Highways England vary speed limits at busy times to keep the traffic flowing, keep you moving and make your journey more reliable
  3. Be safe: millions use the motorways every day – think about how the decisions you make on your journey affect others
  4. Don’t risk it: speed limits on smart motorways are enforced by police and if you break the speed limit you will be prosecuted 
  5. Respect road workers: do your bit to save lives – drive carefully, stick to the stated speed limit and keep road workers safe. 

For more information on smart motorways, click here.