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South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership
Road safety advice

Smart motorways


The M1 between junctions 32 and 35a is a smart motorway. It uses technology, such as cameras, sensors and variable message signs to actively manage the flow of traffic.

Smart motorways are managed by regional control centres operated by Highways England. They monitor traffic carefully and can activate and change signs and speed limits. This helps keep the traffic flowing freely.

A sign displaying red X indicates that the lane is closed. If you see a red X closing a lane, move out of that lane promptly. If you don’t, you may receive a fine.

A lane might be closed because there is debris in the road, or because of a person or animal on the road. We may be keeping the lane clear for the emergency services, such as an ambulance.
It may not be immediately obvious why a lane is closed, but it is important to follow all instructions given on signs for your own safety and that of others. 



When driving on a smart motorway:

  • never drive in a lane closed by a red “X”
  • keep to the speed limit shown on the gantries
  • a solid white line indicates the hard shoulder - don’t drive in it unless directed.
  • a broken white line indicates a normal running lane
  • if your vehicle experiences difficulties exit the smart motorway at the next available opportunity
  • use the refuge areas for emergencies if there’s no hard shoulder
  •  put your hazard lights on if you break down

Further guidance on how to drive on a smart motorway can be found on the government website.

For further information about SYSRP and our campaigns and initiatives, or if you have any queries, then contact us using this form or drop an email to

To keep up-to-date with our many events and initiatives around South Yorkshire then follow us @SYSaferRoads.

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