Controlled motorway: What does it mean?

Variable speed limits and lane closures are controlled by overhead gantry signs to manage traffic flow.

Controlled motorway: The long answer

A controlled motorway is a type of road in the UK that has specific regulations and restrictions in place to ensure the safety and smooth flow of traffic. These regulations are typically enforced through the use of overhead gantries that display variable speed limits and lane control signals.

On a controlled motorway, drivers are required to follow the displayed speed limits, which can be adjusted based on the traffic conditions. The variable speed limits help in managing congestion and reducing the likelihood of accidents. Additionally, the lane control signals indicate if a lane is open or closed, allowing drivers to make informed decisions and adjust their position accordingly.

One key feature of a controlled motorway is the mandatory use of the hard shoulder as a running lane during peak traffic periods. This is known as "hard shoulder running" and is indicated by a solid white line on the road surface. When the hard shoulder is open for use, drivers can temporarily drive on it to help alleviate congestion.

It is important for UK drivers to understand and follow the rules of a controlled motorway to ensure their safety and maintain a smooth traffic flow. Adhering to the displayed speed limits, following the lane control signals, and using the hard shoulder correctly when allowed are all crucial aspects of driving on a controlled motorway.