Time to reverse because this road is the opposite of smart - Editor's comment

If ever there was a perfect modern day oxymoron it is our ‘smart’ motorways. After yet another crash this weekend involving a broken-down car stranded without having a hard shoulder to pull onto, it is beyond time for the whole concept to be reconsidered.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 9:47 am

I believe the stretch of the M1 which runs through Sheffield is not as safe as it used to be, before the ‘smart’ upgrades, and we need urgent action before more people die.

Apparently, the onus is on us as drivers to issue an alert should we be unfortunate enough to grind to a halt on a stretch where there is nowhere safe to pull off. Now I am sure most of us could be smarter drivers but this is beyond ridiculous.

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Angry? No, I’m furious that they can still get away with it - Editor's comment

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Smart motorway in Sheffield

There can be few things more terrifying than having a car that won’t move and being stuck on one of the fastest stretches of road in the country. You would be praying for help and quickly, but most importantly what you need is a safe place to move away from the traffic flow. And we had that, not so long ago.

We have already had deaths and heard a tragic case of a motorist waiting for as long as 16 minutes before a fatal collision. We are still to see whether charges will be brought against Highways England in connection with that awful incident. When is enough enough?

This weekend, another motorist had to be airlifted to hospital and again we have to ask if there was anything that could have been done to prevent another horrible smash.

I understand that there are plenty of other roads, such as dual carriageways, which don’t have hard shoulders. I have heard people use this as a reason to point the finger of blame at drivers, rather than the ‘smart’ motorways. But that argument is utterly ridiculous because we had something that worked and we have only very recently decided to remove it. Saying we want all our roads equally bad is just depressing. Surely we should be looking to improve them all rather than taking away safety mechanisms that have helped for decades?

I understand why lots of you tell me that you are too afraid to use these sections of roads and The Star will be fighting for change on your behalf.

In the meantime, all our thoughts are with those who have been injured or lost loved ones. We need change quickly.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.