HGV driver describes harrowing near-miss on 'smart motorway' near J29a

An HGV driver has described a harrowing-near miss on the M1 ‘smart motorway’ near J29a, as he called for hard shoulders to be reinstated. 

The driver, who asked to remain anonymous, was driving an 18.55m (60ft) long HGV on the northbound carriageway at around 12.15am on Saturday (February 15).

An emergency refuge area on smart motorways which are being painted orange

An emergency refuge area on smart motorways which are being painted orange

As he came over J29a for Bolsover, he noticed a broken-down car in the distance.

As he was being overtaken by another HGV in lane two, and saw that the car appeared to be in the refuge bay, he continued down lane one.

“There were no warning signs or lane closure signs on the gantry, so I continued. As I got closer I realised the broken down vehicle was still half in my lane,” he said.

“I had nowhere to go and had to make an emergency stop to miss the vehicle and the two women next to the car.”

He added that the incident had shaken him up, as he replayed over and over in his mind what could have happened.

“I rang 999 straight away, and the person on the other end was asking lots of questions about the make and model of the car, and my details – all while the lane was live.

“If I hadn’t been able to stop – and I’m lucky I had nothing in the back – it would have killed them. They would have had to jump onto the roundabout below, or run into the live lanes to escape.

“I would have given up driving. I’ve had near misses before as I drive around 2,000 miles a week, but after this happened I was thinking about my children, about those two women’s families.”

He added that he did not have an issue with smart motorways, but that the hard shoulder should be reinstated to avoid these incidents.

He originally posted his message on Facebook group Smart Motorways Kill, which is bringing a judicial review to force a legal stop to smart motorways in the name of everyone killed and hurt on them.

Yo can contribute to their legal fees, in memory of Jason Mercer, here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/smart-motorway-jr/?fbclid=IwAR1neTSs5FQDr37tFwNI5IFkDZGoP4FfWCLOe5GHRKxphP37Jl1GtB2l3Jg