National Highways Red X

What is the “National Highways Red X?”

In the UK, “National Highways Red X” is a term used on smart motorways to indicate lane closure. Red Xs are displayed on overhead gantries and signal drivers that the lane is closed and should not be used. The red Xs are used to increase safety and manage traffic flow on the motorway.

You may have seen the motorway signs saying, “Search Online for National Highways Red X”.

Don’t search when driving!

Using a phone while driving is illegal because it is a distraction that can significantly increase the risk of accidents. When a driver uses their phone, they take their focus away from the road, and their attention is divided, making it difficult to react to changing traffic conditions or unexpected obstacles. In addition, holding and operating a phone requires manual dexterity, which further reduces the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Using a phone while driving also increases reaction time and reduces overall situational awareness, decreasing safety for drivers and other road users. In many countries, it is against the law to hold and use a phone while driving or to use it without a hands-free device. These laws are designed to protect the safety of all road users.

What is a smart motorway?

A smart motorway is a type of managed motorway in which technology controls traffic flow and improves safety. Smart motorways use variable speed limits, lane management, and incident detection systems to help reduce congestion and improve journey times. Using overhead signs, including red Xs, to indicate closed lanes and variable speed limits helps to manage traffic flow and enhance safety, particularly during incidents or roadworks. They can also help reduce the frequency and duration of lane closures, improving journey reliability for drivers. Smart motorways are used in several countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom.

How many intelligent motorways are in the UK, and where are they?

As of 2024, there are approximately 500 miles of smart motorways in operation in the United Kingdom. These smart motorways are on several highways, including the M1, M4, M5, M6, M42, and M62. The UK government plans to expand the intelligent motorway network in the coming years to reduce congestion and improve driver journey times.

How to find out whether a road is closed?

The national highways agency will inform you on their daily closures report. This can be checked here:

Plan your journey carefully, especially if you are travelling long distances.

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There are over 500 miles of smart motorways in the UK.