Motorway Accident Claim: RTA solicitor guide to claiming compensation for car crashes on motorways and dual carriageways
Find out the specific road safety rules which apply to driving on a motorway, the most common types of motorway accident claim in the UK and how best to claim compensation if your suffer injury as a passenger or driver in a motorway RTA.
What safety rules are in place to prevent motorway accidents?
In the UK the Highway Code sets out distinct road safety rules which apply to travelling on motorways and are designed to prevent a motorway accident.
A motorway is a high speed multi lane road – typically having a crash barrier separating lanes of traffic travelling in opposite directions, slip roads joining and leaving the motorways and a hard shoulder as a near side lane used exclusively for broken down vehicles.
Motorways in the UK are named alpha numerically – always with the letter M followed by a number. The busiest motorways in the UK include the M6 (which is in the West of England and extends into Scotland), the M1 (in the East of England), the M25 (a ring road around London), the M4 passing from London into Wales. In Northern Ireland the busiest motorways are the M1 and the M22.
Dual carriageways are other types of high speed road – these typically only have two lanes of traffic and the safety regulations are not quite so extensive as with motorway driving.
Specific road safety laws exist as guidance to drivers: entering and leaving a motorway, in extreme weather, observing hazard warning notices, speed limits, safe distances behind other vehicles, forbidding of pedestrians, limitations on low powered motorbikes, rules for slow moving vehicles, trucks buses and other large vehicles, overtaking, break down, lane selection and emergency situations.
To see the specific regulations relating to motorways in the Highway Code click motorway accident claim.
What are common types of motorway accident claim?
There are many different types of road accidents on motorways, which are relatively unique to motorway driving due to the inherent dangers of travelling on high speed roads for long distances.
Some of the common types of motorway accident claim for compensation, include:
1. Car crash pile ups
If a collision occurs on a motorway or large truck / heavy goods vehicle overturns a chain reaction can occur – with vehicle after vehicle crashing into others. Injuries can be quite significant – even fatal, and establishing who was at fault for all of the vehicles damaged and injuries will require the need of an expert specialist RTA lawyer.
2. Vehicles overtaking and undertaking
The Highway Code sets out specific guidelines as how to overtake safely on a motorway. When moving from lane to lane you must be careful to check your blind spot, an area to the side of your vehicle which is not visible in your wing mirror and rear view mirror. Many motorway accident claims result from failing to ensure the blind spot is clear before commencing a manouevre.
In the UK – undertaking (or overtaking using an inside lane) is illegal and considered extremely dangerous.
3. Truck accident claims
Trucks, lorries, heavy goods vehicles (HGV’s), wagons, buses, trailers are all considered larger slow moving vehicles. As such drivers are restricted to travelling below 60 mph and overtaking in the central lanes only – never the outer lane.
Sometimes weather conditions are such – especially if strong cross winds exist – that trucks can overturn and cause a pile up.
4. Speeding, tailgating and keeping a safe distance
A motorway accident claim can result from crashes due to cars travelling over the 70 mph UK national speed limit. The faster you travel – the less time you have to react to an unexpected hazard or situation on the carriageway.
Tailgating is the practice of ignoring the safe distance required behind other vehicles and driving close up to the back of another car at high speeds. Should the car in front have to brake for whatever reason a collision is almost inevitable.
5 . Motorway road works
The safety of road workers on a motorway is a paramount consideration. Often the only protection between workers and fast moving vehicles are road cones. Lanes can be narrowed and the hard shoulder used as a lane.
All in all – speed limits are reduced due to greater danger. Failure to observe the new road conditions can lead to a motorway accident claim.
6. Vehicle brake lights. indicators and headlights not working
When travelling at high speeds it is important to see the vehicle in front clearly and to know when a vehicle is slowing down or intending to change lane. If brake lights, headlights or indicator lights are not functioning correctly a motorway accident claim can result.
7. Correct lane selection at motorway roundabouts
Lane selection on a motorway is critical – the correct lanes on motorway roundabouts are clearly marked. Trying to leave a motorway roundabout from the incorrect lane without indicating can cause a collision and result in a motorway accident claim. Spaghetti junction in Birmingham is notorious.
8. Driver falling asleep at the wheel
Travelling long distances in straight lines can be extremely tiring and many drivers will have an accident from falling asleep at the wheel.
Truck drivers have specific rules as to the maximum driving intervals before having to take a break. All modern trucks and lorries have a Tachogram, which is a device which will record speed, distance as against time. It will include a record of when breaks are taken.
In a truck motorway accident claim – the Tachogram is a valuable piece of information to show if a truck driver was at fault.
What should you do if you suspect you have a motorway accident claim?
If you are considering a motorway accident claim you should contact a specialist RTA solicitor – not only are your injuries likely to be severe, but the question of proving legal fault and considering contributory negligence issues is complex.
See our specialist solicitor free legal help options including asking an online question, speaking to our solicitors direct or having your potential motorway accident claim assessed.