Don’t ignore the Red X

National Highways has teamed up with national emergency services organisations to remind drivers not to ignore the Red X sign when travelling on the nation’s roads. The Red X is used to close lanes when an obstruction such as a broken-down vehicle is detected in the road ahead.

Drivers can face a fixed penalty fine of up to £100, points on their licence or a court appearance in some cases for passing illegally under a Red X or entering the lane beyond it. In June 2019 there was a change in legislation which meant cameras can automatically detect vehicles that ignore a Red X and as of September 2022 all police forces have been able to enforce the cameras. Surrey Police was one of the first forces to use enforcement cameras to detect these traffic offences.

Police, fire and ambulance leaders have come together to remind drivers of their obligations and the impact on their services. Dan Quin is the road lead for the National Fire Chiefs Council, he cautioned, “When used in the event of emergencies, the Red X provides invaluable access to the scene of an incident, preventing time lost in negotiating the build-up of traffic. Red X signals also provide safety for workers while on the road, including emergency services and the public, by reducing the risk of further collisions.”

National Highways Traffic Officer, Dave Harford added, “We don’t take the decision to close lanes lightly, but when we do, drivers must obey the closure. A Red X signal is there for the safety of everyone on the road – including people in difficulty, traffic officers, recovery and emergency services helping them, and all other road users besides. Thankfully, the vast majority of drivers do comply with the signals but those who don’t put themselves and others at risk.”