So, you’re on the motorway and you've got car trouble.
The removal of the hard shoulder areas on motorways and replacing them with the new emergency refuge areas is definitely becoming increasingly common on the British Isles motorway networks.
In a recent study over 50% of drivers are completely unaware of what these areas are for.
So what is an Emergency Refuge Area?
They are located on smart motorways and are made to be a safe haven for stranded cars on busy roads. They are positioned every 15 miles apart and but this distance is giving rise for concern, although they do have emergency telephones available to call for additional assistance.
How to spot an ERA?
1. They are marked with big blue signs with an orange SOS phone symbol.
2. Arrows on the road direct you to the ERA where you should stop and switch to your cars Hazard lights.
3. You should carefully exit the car via the nearside (left hand) door and place yourself and all passengers safely behind the safety barriers.
4. You can then use the SOS phone to speak to a representative of Highways England who will assist you further.
5. Please note: the ERA's can only be used for emergencies and should not be used to make telephone calls or toilet breaks etc.
So, what do you do if you're unable to access an ERA?
If you are unable to reach the nearest ERA or exit please follow these steps:-
If there is no safety barrier and it is safe to do so, you should move onto the grass verge.
In all cases, switch on your cars hazard warning lights.
Get out of your vehicle via the nearside (left hand) door and wait behind the safety barrier.
If it is not possible to get to the nearside lane or exit your vehicle safely, then you should stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and switch on your cars hazard warning lights, if you have access to a mobile phone dial 999 for assistance.
When the relevant highways authority becomes aware of a breakdown or an incident on a smart motorway they will show a ‘red cross' on the overhead signs to make motorists aware of the problem.