Highways England is trialling a new orange surfaced smart motorway emergency area on the M3 in Surrey.
The redesign is aimed at making the location of the emergency area clearer to motorists and also to discourage non-emergency use.
Earlier this year, Highways England data revealed non-emergency use of emergency areas on the M25 accounted for 82% of vehicles stopping in them between junctions 24 and 25. Between junctions 5 and 7 the figure was 79%. Highways England published the figures in its latest evaluation report on the two smart motorway all lane running schemes on the M25.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “We know that smart motorways are safe. But we also recognise that drivers need to have confidence when using them and be clear about where they can stop in an emergency.
“That is why we are trialling these highly visible new style emergency areas. The bright orange colouring will make them as easy as possible to spot and should also discourage drivers from using them in non-emergency situations.
“This is just one of the ways we are helping drivers to understand smart motorways and their benefits. I hope it helps drivers feel more confident about using a smart motorway.”