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24th June 2021

Highways England’s latest campaign urges drivers to ‘go left’

Over the year Highways England has released countless advertising campaigns to grab our attention and ensure we are informed of how to drive in the safest possible way.

From its Space Invader campaign in 2018 which highlighted the dangers of tailgating fellow drivers, to its safety checks campaign, which pointed out that we wouldn’t board a plane that had skipped safety checks, therefore we shouldn’t skip them prior to a car journey; each and every one of Highways England’s campaigns has been memorable, and its newest campaign is no different.

Highways England campaign

The campaign focuses on educating people on what to do in the event of a breakdown on a motorway or major A-road, encompassing roads with or without a hard shoulder. Essentially it encourages drivers to ‘go left’ in an emergency, taking them as far away from active traffic as they can get.

So, what exactly is the campaign asking drivers to do?

In the event of a break down on the motorway, Highways England is asking us to:

  • Indicate left and move over to the left lane
  • Take the near exit on your left or move left onto the hard shoulder or emergency area
  • Put your hazard lights on
  • Exit your car left (through the passenger door)
  • Get behind the safety barrier or ensure you are as far away from active traffic as possible
  • Call Highways England on 0300 123 5000, then call your breakdown provider

If you are unable to exit your vehicle, move it to a safe place.  If you are stopped in a live traffic lane or feel that your life is in danger, ensure your hazards are switched on and your seatbelt is fastened, stay in your vehicle and dial 999.

This advice comes as it was revealed that half of smart motorway cameras are unable to detect when drivers have ignored closed lane signs (marked with a red X). This creates safety issues, as smart motorway stretches may transform the hard shoulder into an active lane to ease traffic, potentially leaving drivers stranded in the event of a breakdown.

It is hoped that this campaign will enable drivers to confidently know what they need to do in an emergency (by moving left), reducing cars at a standstill in active lanes and therefore ensuring a driver’s safety.

Find out more about the campaign here.