This is a very good idea, since the whole concept of Smart motorways leaves drivers open to the risk of a high speed collision when broken down. For better visibility drivers can now deploy the Be-Seen Screen, which is the brainchild of entrepreneur, Richard Edwards, who says:
“For the thousands of people driving on busy roads every day the Be-Seen Screen is a straightforward and affordable option that will improve visibility. It could provide vital extra seconds of awareness that can help to prevent serious accidents. Grant Shapps has already agreed that ‘smart’ motorways are currently anything but smart. If there’s a breakdown in lane one, and with hard shoulders in use, motorists are very exposed. Emergency refuges are too far apart for many drivers to reach them safely, so an effective high-visibility warning device is needed to reduce the risk.”
“With a Be-Seen Screen on board, if your vehicle fails on a rainy afternoon in poor light conditions, you can have a bright, reflective warning sign in place in moments. By pressing the powerful suction pads to the rear windscreen or boot you can clearly and securely display the distinctive chevrons and ‘broken down’ message.
“The banner has the same reflectivity as emergency vehicles, day or night, to make other motorists aware of your stranded vehicle. It’s an eye-catching and faster alternative to safety triangles where the 45 metre walk along the carriageway to put them in place represents a risk in itself.”
Innovation vs technology
Smart motorways and strategic road networks will ultimately use Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) technology to provide lane-by-lane warnings of incidents and obstructions. The deadline for SVD on the UK’s smart motorways was set for 2023 but, recognising the risks motorists face, this is reportedly being brought forward.
In January 2021 a coroner called for a review of safety on smart motorways following the death in 2019 of two men who had stopped on lane one of the M1.