BBQ are not OK - but what are the rules on stopping on the hard shoulder?

Following the bizarre news that a French family were caught having a BBQ on the hard shoulder of the M6, we look at what are the rules for stopping on the motorway.

Monday, 30th July 2018, 11:33 am
Updated Monday, 30th July 2018, 12:38 pm
Having a BBQ is not an acceptable use of the hard shoulder

Across the UK, around 800 people a year are killed on the hard shoulder or laybys of motorways.

Despite official advice that the hard shoulder is for emergencies only, some people remain confused about the rules.

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A survey by the AA showed that Illness or toilet breaks (both 5 per cent) were the most common excuses, followed by running out of fuel (4 per cent), reading a map (2 per cent) and making a non-emergency phone call (1 per cent).

Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year, says: “The hard shoulder is a highly dangerous place with vehicles thundering past just feet away but some people don’t fully appreciate the risks involved in stopping on it.

“Most weeks we have incidents where a member’s car is struck while on the hard shoulder and it seems to be an increasing issue, which is a serious concern. Thankfully most people heed the safety advice and get out of the car and behind the barrier before calling for assistance.

“You should only stop if it is a genuine emergency and have no choice – it really is the last resort.

"It’s best to try to drive to a safer place off the motorway rather than stopping on the hard shoulder, even in the event of a breakdown. For example, if your car has an amber warning light, it’s fine to continue to the next exit; and, likewise, say you get a puncture or an alert from your car’s tyre pressure monitoring system, it’s better to risk having to shell out for a new tyre than be a sitting duck on the hard shoulder."

Drivers can be fined up to £100 and given three penalty points for inappropriate use of the hard shoulder.