Death risk:Hard shoulder misuse
More than 800 people killed or injured each year on hard shoulds and lay-bys
February 20, 2015
The AA has warned motorists about stopping on the hard shoulder in a non-emergency after research found that more than 800 people are killed or injured each year on hard shoulders and lay-bys.
An AA-Populus poll of 18,806 AA members found that the most common excuse for a non-emergency stop is illness or toilet breaks, with running out of fuel, reading a map and making a phone call also popular reasons for stopping on the motorway.
Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year, said: “The hard shoulder can be a highly dangerous place with vehicles thundering past just feet away but some people don’t fully appreciate the risks involved in stopping on it.
“You should only stop if it is a genuine emergency and have no choice – it really is the last resort. It’s best to try to drive to a safer place off the motorway rather than stopping on the hard shoulder, even in the event of a breakdown.
“If you stop for any other reason, you could be fined up to £100 and receive three penalty points, as well as potentially putting your life at risk. No phone call or loo stop is worth it.”
The warning comes ahead of the Easter break, which will 16 million cars take to our roads for the bank holiday weekend.
Overall, 56 per cent of respondents have stopped on the motorway hard shoulder at some point, particularly those in North-west England (64%) ahead of South-east England (60%).
A third had to pull over due to a mechanical breakdown and a further fifth stopped due to puncture or tyre damage.
Spowage adds: “If you are forced to stop, safety is paramount, so exit the vehicle on the left, get far away from your vehicle and behind the barrier (if one is present) and then call for assistance – it’s just not safe to remain in the vehicle.”