Smart Motorways & classic cars

Newspaper articles on smart motorways keep appearing, with some regularity.   It’s something, which worries, me every time I start a long (ish) journey, in one of my pre 1970 cars.  In fact dual carriageways, like the A34, a fast road with no hard shoulder, can be just as harrowing as a smart motorway.

Whilst I accept that its bonkers to want to take a classic vehicle on the motorway, often its hardly practical not to.  When I travel from Manchester to the Lake District, I’ve tried a few ways of staying off the motorway…. the trouble is that the M60 is hard to stay off if you want to get from south to north Manchester, unless you want a difficult journey through central Manchester and suburbs.  Even places like Preston and the A6, mean travelling through the town Centre.  Travelling to Goodwood Revival, without travelling on the M42 is almost impossible.  I have a route that keeps me off the motorway, via the A5, but it’s a long detour.

Most pre 1970 cars don’t have hazard warning lights or much in the way of crash protection.  In order to prepare for the worst, I have two high viz vests in each car, plus a warning triangle and a “plug in” orange hazard strobe light, with magnet to attach to the upper bodywork. 

Whilst sometimes it is hard to avoid Smart Motorways and they do need a review, there are basic, common sense things we can do:

  • Making sure you and your passenger jump out if you have to stop and get away from the vehicle to somewhere safe.
  • Wear high viz vests.
  • Place warning triangle behind and hazard lights on the vehicle.
  • Definitely avoid travel at night.

A Police road traffic officer friend advises all of the above, with a plea to place the warning triangle at least 50 yards behind the car, if it is safe to do so.