Our website uses cookies to give you a better browsing experience, and by using our site you accept our cookies policy


An important part of HGV driver training in the UK is making drivers aware of the rules of the road, both here in Britain and on the continent. Apparently, the same cannot be said in other countries as evidenced by the fact that growing numbers of foreign HGV drivers are misusing emergency refuge areas (ERAs) on some of our busiest motorways.

Police report that they are seeing more drivers pulling off the road and into ERAs in order to comply with mandatory rest periods and tachograph regulations, rather than using the areas for their intended purpose. They also say most of the drivers doing so are not UK natives. Police say that part of the problem might be the fact that in many places on the continent it is completely acceptable to use ERAs for rest breaks.

In the UK, ERAs are intended for emergencies only. Officials say misusing them as rest stops slow traffic and creates a dangerous situation. The bays are just barely large enough to contain the typical lorry, with very little room to spare. Motorists approaching an HGV stopped in an ERA must slow down in order to avoid an accidental collision. Under heavy traffic conditions, such slowdowns quickly escalate into long tailbacks that serve only to impede traffic and promote driver frustration.

How serious is the problem? Highways England implemented a study on the M25 to determine whether changes made on the motorway were helping traffic to move more efficiently. They concluded that 85% of the 392 ERA stops they looked at were undertaken for non-emergency purposes. More striking is the reality that 96% of the HGVs using the bays were not experiencing an emergency.

Responsible Road Use Good for Everyone

The good news in this story is that UK HGV drivers understand and respect the intended purpose of the ERA. The bad news is that so many foreign drivers still either do not know the law or do not care to follow it. At any rate, things need to change. Every driver has a responsibility to be safe and considerate of other drivers. That includes staying out of emergency areas unless a genuine emergency is taking place. In short, responsible road use is an obligation of every driver.

Our HGV driver training programme takes the time to educate drivers about responsible road use. We teach students motoring law, HGV regulations, and the basic principles of common courtesy in the hopes that they will practice all three as professional drivers. We know that when professionals use the roads responsibly, it is good for everyone.

Hopefully, the police can find a solution to HGV drivers misusing ERAs. The last thing we need is a serious accident brought about by a driver who should never have been stopped in the emergency area.

In the meantime, we are committed to continuing our industry-leading HGV driver training at facilities all over the UK. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our training opportunities.


  1. Commercial Motor – https://www.commercialmotor.com/news/police-warn-non-uk-drivers-are-misusing-refuge-areas


We are open Monday-Thursday 9am to 6pm and Friday 9am to 5:30pm

Just fill in your details below and we’ll send you a free theory test practice with.
Just let us know your score...

We reserve the right to contact you in the
future via this email

By Signing up, you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy


By Signing up, you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy


By Signing up, you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy


By Signing up, you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy


By Signing up, you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy

Request A Callback

Corporate Form