Red X

Have you
noticed the red X
signal when driving on
motorways?

It’s there for your safety and it’s illegal to ignore it.

The red X sign is key to supporting safety on motorways. It tells you a lane is closed, either to protect drivers in difficulty, or when road workers and emergency services need a space to work.

Most drivers respect the red X signal. But those who don’t put themselves and other road users at real risk.

Observe the
red X and
all signals set

illustration of a red x sign on a gantry

The illustrations below show a typical sequence of signs and signals you’ll see on the motorway when a red X signal is set. This helps to manage incidents or accidents.

Sometimes a red X signal needs to be set far in advance of an incident to provide access for emergency services. Or to help you re-join the motorway from an emergency area. When you see the red X, it means the lane is closed and you must not use it.

Please leave gaps in the traffic to let other drivers move into an open lane.

Signs will also show when the lane is re-opened. You may see a national or variable speed limit, or a message informing you of the end of the restriction. Do not move into a closed lane even if you’ve passed a hazard, as there may be other hazards up ahead in the same lane.

One.Lane closure warning. Obey the speed limit displayed.
Graphic showing side-of-the-road mounted sign warning of lane closure ahead
Graphic showing gantry spanning whole of motorway warning of lane closure ahead
Two.Move into the next available lane as indicated by the arrow. This sign may be repeated.
Graphic showing gantry side-of-the-road mounted sign informimg you to move out of lane
Graphic showing gantry spanning whole of motorway informimg you to move out of lane
Three.You must not enter or proceed in a lane closed by a red X signal.
Graphic showing side-of-the-road mounted sign indicating lane closed by red X
Graphic showing gantry spanning whole of motorway indicating lane closed by red X
Four.National speed limit, or a message informing of the end of any restrictions.
Graphic showing side-of-the-road mounted sign indicating end of restrictions
Graphic showing gantry spanning whole of motorway indicating end of restrictions

Remember, it’s illegal and dangerous to drive in a red X lane. If you’re caught, you could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points, and in some cases more severe penalties or a court appearance.

More information can be found in the Highway Code (rule 258) and The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.
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