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Highways England has announced plans to spend some £1.5 billion on motorway improvements in three key areas around the country. All three are areas in which the HGV Training Centre offers comprehensive training for professional drivers. For example, students can come to us for HGV training in Northamptonshire, where money will be spent on the M1 J19-J16. Money is also targeted for the M5 J4A-J6 and the M6 J16-J19.

According to Commercial Fleet, Highways England will be investing the money to convert approximately 292 miles of motorway into newer smart motorways. A smart motorway is one in which the hard shoulder is instantly convertible to an additional driving lane during periods of heavy congestion. It is a system government leaders and engineers hope will alleviate traffic and improve safety at the same time.

Freight Transport Association (FTA) policy manager Sally Gilson told Commercial Fleet that the government investment is much needed in all three areas. She says smart motorways have already proved successful in other places; she sees no reason they will not offer the same benefits in Northamptonshire, Worcestershire, and Stoke-on-Trent.

As all three motorways currently exist, heavy congestion occurs between the designated junctions on a regular basis. During those times, the likelihood of accidents increases as faster drivers attempt dangerous overtaking of their slower counterparts. The situation is especially dangerous for HGV and PCVs because their speeds are limited. The larger vehicles also have a harder time stopping and braking.

The smart motorway concept should reduce the risk of accidents by allowing traffic to move more freely. With faster vehicles in the extra lane and fewer cars trying to overtake, things should move along much more smoothly and efficiently. The FTA is certainly in favour of the plan, and so is most of the haulage and transport industry.

Safe Driving Always Important

We are just as pleased as the FTA to know that Highways England is taking motorway upgrades seriously. Many of our roads are woefully inadequate for the amount of traffic volume we now see. Any improvements to make them safer are certainly welcome improvements.

The HGV Training Centre is also aware that upgrading the highway system is not something that can be done overnight. It will take years of investment and hard work to transform our roads into a system better able to manage future traffic volumes. Between now and then, drivers of all designations should be aware of how important safe driving always is. We cannot overemphasise this point among commercial drivers especially.

Some accidents on our motorways could be avoided if drivers would simply slow down and take their time. No schedule is so important as to endanger the lives of others through unsafe driving practices. ‘Safety first’ should always be the mindset when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

As a leading provider of HGV training in Northamptonshire, we welcome the investment by Highways England. We invite you to contact us for more information about training in your area.

Sources:

Commercial Fleet – https://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2015/07/27/motorway-investments-will-ease-congestion-say-fta

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