Smart motorways have introduced a host of new signs and signals that existing drivers have had to get used to. But there’s one road sign that a lot of drivers still don’t understand - the red X.
A red X shows that a lane is closed and when it is showing cars must not use that lane. The sign is used when an incident has occurred or when there are roadworks in that lane to create a safer environment for road users and workers. The red X can be displayed on signs above each lane or on the verge and it will be made clear when a lane closure is coming up and which lane or lanes shouldn’t be used.
In 2017 Highways England issued 80,000 warning letters to drivers who didn’t follow the rules of the smart motorway, and a third of those were related to people driving in closed lanes. Driving in a closed lane is dangerous for the person in the car and anyone who may be stopped in that lane. Cars using this lane could also prevent access for emergency services during an incident. What are the penalties for driving in a closed lane?
In recent months there has been a crackdown on drivers who ignore smart motorway signs, with 24/7 speed cameras now catching those ignoring the signs on the M1 and giving them a fine. This year drivers will face a fine of £100 for driving under a red X on a smart motorway. This could rise to £2,500 depending on the nature or severity of the offence and drivers could also receive three penalty points on their licence.