RAC Cars News


Worst Reasons For Stopping On The Hard Shoulder

By raccars Published

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Everyone knows the hard shoulder is there for emergency stops only - at least you'd think so. But according to the Highways Agency, not everyone is clear on the rules, with a list of ten rather pathetic excuses given by drivers questioned about why they had stopped on the hard shoulder.

  1. One motorist stopped on the hard shoulder after seeing the word 'fire' appear on the screen of the car's centre console. It turned out the song 'Set Fire to the Rain' by Adele was playing at the time and the title was displayed on the screen.
  2. Another motorist pulled over and simply went for a nap on the hard shoulder.
  3. A number of drivers thought the hard shoulder was an appropriate spot for map reading.
  4. On one occasion, traffic police stopped to check on a pair of cars stopped on the hard shoulder. It turned out the drivers were in the middle of a transaction, with one buying the other's car. Yes, on the hard shoulder.
  5. Another hard shoulder incident involved a driver who realised his insurance policy was about to run out, so was calling around insurance companies asking for quotes.
  6. A group of bikers chose the hard shoulder of the M1 to check their route and stop for refreshments.
  7. Cab drivers use the hard shoulder around the Heathrow Airport area as parking while they wait for customers' flights to land.
  8. A company car belonging to a mobile telephone network pulled up at regular intervals to test their company's signal along the motorway.
  9. One motorist stopped on the hard shoulder to pick flowers.
  10. A couple in a convertible sports car were questioned by traffic officers about why they were parked on the hard shoulder, only to reply that it was such as lovely day they wanted to take some pictures of their new grandchild.

According to the Highways Agency, there were just some of the reasons given for stopping in 2,062 incidences where drivers were using the hard shoulder illegally. The Agency is concerned about the number of drivers breaking the law, not only on the hard shoulder but also by continuing to drive in a motorway lane after a red cross has been displayed above it, to signify that the lane closes ahead.

The hard shoulder is only open to traffic outside of emergencies in times of extra congestion, and in such a case, a speed limit sign will be displayed above the hard shoulder.

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