Respect the Red X

Respect the Red X


Emergency services have teamed up with National Highways to urge drivers to “respect the red X”.

Ambulance chiefs and the National Highways have come together to remind drives to follow smart motorway rules.

A smart motorway uses all lanes including the hard shoulder for traffic flow. If a vehicle stops or if there is an accident, then digital boards above the affected lanes display a red X. This indicates that drives should no longer use that lane.

Ambulance chiefs are urging drivers to follow the rules and keep these lanes clear so that emergency services can get to their patients as quickly as possible.

Any traffic not following the red X system risk obstructing the route for emergency responders. It also limits the risk to any emergency responders working within the shut-off lane as they deal with casualties on the scene.

Closing lanes can also help emergency service teams get to an incident as quickly as possible.

This comes after several campaigns run by National Highways to tackle the misinformation around smart motorways.



Martin Flaherty, managing director at the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) said he fully supports the National Highways scheme to improve awareness.

He said:

“We want drivers to understand that the red ‘X’ lane is closed for the safety of all – and especially to protect the scene of an accident and those emergency and essential services who may be on the carriageway to deal with the aftermath.”

New legislation brought into force in 2019 allowed automatic cameras to detect and track vehicles breaking the rules. This helps police authorities take action and enforce penalties. Drivers caught driving in a closed red X lane could face a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points on their license. But more extreme cases may face court action. The government announced last year that they have committed to adding more cameras. More monitoring along the national road network to help traffic monitors see when a road needs to close sooner.


How can we help?

Road safety is a priority for us at Cambrian Fuel Card Services. That’s why our telematic solutions come with a free online portal so you can track your fleet’s movements in real-time. The live tracking feature allows you to see exactly where your fleet is in real-time. It also allows you to track your fleet’s behaviour with data on speeding and safe driving practices.


Respect the Red X