Press release

Red X means ‘don’t use that lane’

Follow the Red X code and don’t drive in a motorway lane with a Red X displayed.


That is the message to drivers planning to use the new ‘smart motorway’ sections being introduced on the M25.

The smart motorways, between junctions 23 and 27 in Hertfordshire/Essex and between junctions 5 and 6/7 in Kent/Surrey, use pioneering technology and road layout changes to reduce congestion and ease traffic flow.

Variable speed limits and using the hard shoulder as an extra traffic lane work together with other control measures, such as CCTV, to improve reliability of journey times, without compromising the safety of road users and those working on our roads.

As part of the traffic management, signals show a red X when a lane is closed. This means drivers must not proceed any further in the lane indicated. This is also true of other sections of motorway, on the M25 and elsewhere, where although there may be a traditional hard shoulder, red X’s are displayed.

John Martin, Highways Agency senior project manager, said:

Safety is our top priority. Although our roads are some of the safest in the world we are not complacent and want to remind drivers it is essential they understand the importance of the red X and comply with it.

A red X will be displayed because a lane is closed due to an incident or some other obstruction. Driving in a red X lane is dangerous and could lead to prosecution. Remember to follow the red X code.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer

Published 11 April 2014