National Highways has launched guidance for drivers on how smart motorways work – 16 years after they were introduced on the road network.

The ‘Driving on motorways’ hub includes a film featuring TV presenters Suzi Perry and Ortis Deley finding out about variable speed limits on the controversial traffic management technique, as well as all-lanes running and red ‘X’ signs.

Last month, the government was forced to pause new smart motorway schemes amid mounting criticism they were unsafe, particularly when they rely on the use of the hard shoulder as an extra traffic lane.

The widow of a man who was killed on a stretch of smart motorway on the M1 is also trying to take National Highways to court for corporate manslaughter after it was revealed lifesaving technology had not been fitted to many parts of the network.

National Highways said currently around 10% of the motorway network is now classed as smart motorways.

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Videos on the hub include what the traffic signs and signals mean; what to do in an emergency and what you should do if you break down in a live lane.

National Highways said: “It’s National Highways’ role to help keep people safe on our roads.

“The film explains how the individual elements of an all-lane running smart motorway work together to maintain safety and reduce congestion.

“You’ll also find shorter films covering things like live lane breakdowns, red X signs and variable speed limits.”

The full specification of the traffic management technique was first rolled out on part of the M42 in 2006.

The hub can be found here: