Officers in Dacorum have issued a plea to A41 motorists to reduce their speed in the event of a lane closure, after they witnessed several dangerous manoeuvres in recent weeks.
The stretch of dual carriageway in Dacorum, between Hemel Hempstead and Tring, is regularly attended by officers dealing with broken-down vehicles or collisions and due to the lack of hard shoulder, this often requires them to close a lane.
This type of closure allows police, other emergency services and recovery companies to work safely at the scene while still enabling traffic to flow.
However in recent weeks, officers have witnessed concerning behaviour from motorists driving past the lane closures which is putting themselves and others at risk.
PC Jake Smith, from the Dacorum Intervention and Response Team, said: ‘Recently we have attended several incidents on the A41 which have required a lane closure, but despite using blue lights, cones and signs to indicate that there is an obstruction ahead, some motorists have failed to adjust their speed accordingly.
‘Others wait until the very last second to change from Lane 1 to Lane 2, meaning we have witnessed near misses with other vehicles. This behaviour puts those managing the road closure at risk, as well as the occupants of a stationary vehicle and any recovery agents who are working to retrieve that vehicle.
‘This particular stretch of the A41 is hilly in places, with several blind corners, so that makes it especially important to drive mindfully. If you are travelling on this road, please be aware of potential lane closures at all times and ensure you drive safely. If people continue to drive in an unsafe manner in this situation, then they run the risk of being reported.’
Hertfordshire Constabulary issues the following safety advice to motorists:
- Adjust your speed accordingly. Speed limits are a maximum, not a target. It is dangerous to pass a lane closure at high speed, so regulate your driving when required. Also be mindful of increased stopping distances in poor weather. A competent driver has the ability to react to different situations safely as they arise.
- Plan ahead. If you see a lane closure in the distance, anticipate what you will need to do to pass it safely. If you are in the open lane, allow other motorists to merge in safely, and maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front in case you need to brake. If you are in the closed lane, indicate in plenty of time and wait for a suitable gap in which to move across.
- Remove distractions. You need to be completely aware of your surroundings while you are behind the wheel, so it goes without saying – don’t use your mobile phone while driving. Put it in the glove box so it is out of sight until you reach your destination. Other distractions can include fiddling with your radio or sat nav, listening to loud music or over-talkative passengers.
- Practice progressive braking. Begin with slight pressure on the brake pedal, increase it gently and then finish with light pressure. Not only is this more comfortable for your passengers, but more importantly it means motorists travelling behind you have more time to safely react.