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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How to report your location in an emergency

Driver location signs are being installed on motorways and major roads across England. Make sure you understand the information on these signs in case you need to refer to them in an emergency.

Why driver location signs have been introduced

Driver location signs are designed so you can see them from the road whilst travelling. The letters and numbers on the sign mean you can give precise information about your location without needing to stop. The emergency services, vehicle rescue companies and traffic officers can use this information to reach the scene quickly.

Many road users have mobile phones and can use them to report an incident immediately without needing to stop. But remember, you should only make a call if you have a hands-free kit or are a passenger.

You should never pull over to make a call on the motorway hard shoulder, as it is dangerous to stop there. Instead, you should drive on until you reach a service area.

What driver location signs look like

Driver location signs all look alike, whether they are on a motorway or an A road. They have yellow lettering on a blue background with a white border.

The information appears in three rows:

  • the top row shows the A road or motorway number
  • the middle row shows which direction you are travelling in (for example, on the M25 'A' means clockwise, 'B' means counterclockwise)
  • the bottom row shows the distance, accurate to within 20 metres, from the notional start point of the motorway or A road

When you should use driver location signs

The information on the signs will be useful if you need to contact the emergency services or the Highways Agency. For example, you can use the information on the nearest driver location sign if you need to report:

  • a road traffic incident
  • debris on the road

To report a road traffic incident or collision, call 999 or 112.

To report debris or damage, call the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

If you break down on the motorway

If your car breaks down and you have to stop on the hard shoulder, you can use the roadside emergency phones. You can find the nearest one by following the distance markers. The distance markers are smaller than driver location signs and are not designed to be seen from the road. They are spaced at 100-metre intervals and have been used on motorways for many years. See 'What to do if you break down on the motorway' for more detailed information.

Where driver location signs are installed

The signs are on the near-side verge of the motorway or road, spaced no more than 500 metres apart.

Take this information with you

If you would like to take this information with you on your journey, you can download the Highways Agency leaflet on driver location signs.

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