“Tired” driver stops on Smart Motorway leading to horror crash on the M1
A driver is lucky to be alive after he was “so tired” he stopped for a rest in the wrong lane – resulting in a horror crash, according to police.
Derbyshire Police were called to a crash on Saturday morning after the driver of a silver Ford Mondeo apparently mistook lane one of the M1 for the hard shoulder.
He pulled over for a rest between junctions 28 and 29 – part of a smart motorway – near Mansfield, Notts., leading to a devastating crash with a black Volkswagen van.
The impact was so severe that the Mondeo was knocked off the road.
Luckily, both drivers suffered only minor injuries – and the Mondeo driver was reported for careless driving.
The lane was shut at 7.30am to deal with the incident.
Derbyshire Roads Policing Unit shared two photos on Twitter – one showing the crushed back end of the Mondeo and one showing the crumpled front end of the Volkswagen.
The force tweeted: “M1 NB J28 to J29. One we dealt with this morning.
“Mondeo driver was so tired he mistook lane one of four to be the hard shoulder and decided to stop for a rest – here is the result.
“Minor injuries and Mondeo driver reported for careless driving.”
Smart motorways are designed to actively manage the flow of traffic using monitoring and technology controlled by staff at a regional control centre.
The hard shoulder is temporarily or permanently opened to traffic to increase capacity.
Drivers are told to use marked refuge areas, which can be a mile or more apart, if there is an emergency on a smart motorway without a hard shoulder, and put their hazard lights on if their car breaks down.
Staff can activate and change signs and speed limits in the event of congestion, a crash or debris.
England’s smart motorways include stretches of the M25, M1 and M5.
Highways England claim they improve journey reliability and prevent crashes.
But groups including AA have raised concerns with the government, with a recent poll of drivers revealing eight in 10 think the removal of hard shoulders on smart motorways has made them more dangerous.
Some drivers have called the lay-bys on smart motorways “death zones”, and others refused to use the old hard shoulder because they fear hitting a broken down vehicle, the AA added.
The RAC has also expressed concerns, saying: “The removal of the hard shoulder fundamentally increases the risk to drivers who might suffer a breakdown and are unable to reach a refuge area.”
Highways England has pledged to install more emergency lay-bys.