THOUSANDS of drivers ignore this important motorway sign and get slapped with £100 fines.
National Highways has issued an urgent warning as nearly 10,000 motorists were caught out in just three years.
When a crash or road accident has taken place on the motorway, a red X sign is often displayed above the affected lane.
It shines to prevent drivers clogging up the road or obstructing emergency service vehicle access.
The red X’s were enforced in 2019 by Surrey Police and in three years there have been nearly 10,000 Notices of Intended Prosecution issued to drivers who failed to follow the rule.
It has actually been an offence to break this section of the Highway Code for more than 20 years but only since 2019 have cameras been set up to snap the offending motorists.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Policing, told Express: “Red x signals are in place on the motorway for your safety and the safety of others.
“Sadly, there are too many instances where motorists fail to comply with a red x signal and put others in incredible danger by driving in a closed lane.
“This is unacceptable and drivers who do so need to understand they face prosecution.”
National Highways traffic officer Dave Harford, added: “We don’t take the decision to close lanes lightly, but when we do, drivers must obey the closure.
“A red x signal is there for the safety of everyone on the road – including people in difficulty, traffic officers, recovery and emergency services helping them, and all other road users besides.”
Half of the drivers who were caught out by this rule attended safety awareness courses while the remaining offenders paid a fine or went to court.
What to do if your vehicle gets into difficulty on the motorway
The best thing to do is exit and the nearest junction but if that is not possible:
- Put your left indicators on and try to move across into the lefthand lane.
- Find an emergency rest area or a hard shoulder to park in.
- Then put your hazards on and set up a warning triangle if you have one.
- A warning triangle is used to tell other drivers there is a broken down vehicle or obstruction ahead.
- Place it about 50 yards behind your car if it is safe to do so.
- Wait behind a safety barrier if there is one and keep away from traffic.
- Call National Highways on 0300 123 5000 and your breakdown provider.
This comes as drivers are unaware of another Highway Code rule that could cost them between £500 and £2,500 if broken.
With ice, snow, fog and heavy rain, driving in winter demands more from motorists meaning they should be extra careful.
Many drivers start their engines and head back inside, allowing their cars to warm up and de-ice from the comfort of their home.
However, experts say leaving your car unattended for too long could lead to a fine of up to £801 and you also leave it open to thieves.
You should also make sure that you are not wearing something that impedes proper control of the vehicle such as gloves, wellies or heels.
The maximum fine for this is £1,000.
Everyone wears a coat in winter, but drivers should avoid big and bulky winter coats because it limits movement.
According to Comparethemarket, if the police catch you wearing a coat that could impact your driving ability, you can also be fined £1,000.
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