British Drivers Don’t Trust Smart Motorways

Thu 4th Nov 2021

In a week where an influential Transport Committee of MPs called for a halt on smart motorway development, a major survey has revealed a lack of public confidence in the controversial highways.

A study by GoCompare Car Insurance of more than 2,000 motorists found that half of British motorists don’t like the idea of their friends or family using smart motorways. Almost a third of those questioned didn’t like driving on smart motorways themselves, with that figure rising to 40 per cent for the youngest (18-24) and oldest (65 and over) age groups.

“Our research shows that there is clearly a need for further education about the smart motorway system for all ages,” said Ryan Fulthorpe, car insurance expert at GoCompare.

“The fact that more experienced drivers are reluctant to use these new road systems would come as no surprise, but that nearly the same number of young drivers are also keen to avoid using smart motorways just shows that British motorists don’t know enough about them to feel confident when driving on these new kinds of roads.”

The all-lane-running sections of smart motorways have made national news and been the subject of investigative documentaries following a series of high-profile fatalities on major motorways, and the GoCompare research backs up the claims of 11 MPs this week who wanted a full investigation into the safety of the roads.

The survey found that almost 50 per cent of drivers were unsure of what to do if their car broke down on a smart motorway, particularly when the hard shoulder was being used as a ‘live’ extra lane.

“This is a clear demonstration that, before a further roll-out of these road networks across the UK can begin, a clear and simple driver education campaign must be carried out to ensure British motorists are taking to these roads knowing how they work, and most importantly, how to navigate them safely,” Fulthorpe added.