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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Get traffic information on the move

Traffic conditions can change as you travel. The more information you have, the easier it will be for you to change your route if you need to. Find out how to get live updates and avoid congestion on England's motorways and trunk roads.

Check for changing travel conditions

If your journey covers Scotland or Wales, you can find detailed traffic and journey information on the Traffic Scotland or Traffic Wales websites.

Phone and online services (including mobile website)

There are several ways for you to keep an eye on traffic and road conditions online or using a mobile phone. For more details about getting information before you go, see 'Plan your journey'.

Cross & Stitch's Journey Planner not only plans your route but includes live travel news and can find your nearest car park.

Whenever you stop for a break, you can also get traffic updates by:

  • visiting from your laptop, mobile or an internet cafe
  • calling the Highways Agency information line on 0300 123 5000, which has advisers available 24 hours a day

Highways Agency Information Points (HAIPs)

The Highways Agency Information Points (HAIPs) have direct feeds from England's National Traffic Operations Centre to give you the latest traffic and journey time details.

HAIPs display live traffic information on large screens at public venues (like service areas and shopping centres) on or near the motorway network in England.

They can help you to:

  • make decisions en route
  • minimise delays
  • avoid congested routes where possible

Follow the link below to download a map showing the location of all the HAIPs in England.

Electronic message signs

There are nearly 3,000 electronic message signs around England's trunk road and motorway network.

The signs are officially called 'variable message signs', because they can change the message they display depending on conditions. They show, for example:

  • accidents and emergencies ahead
  • congestion and alternative routes
  • journey time messages based on traffic conditions
  • roadworks
  • current and future events that may cause delays

Diversion routes if the motorway is closed

If a motorway or trunk road is closed for any reason, you may be diverted on to an alternative route.

Planned diversions are usually publicised well in advance and clearly signposted on overhead electronic message signs and roadside signs.

Unplanned diversions are usually caused by traffic accidents. Sometimes, you will be asked to leave the road without a clear alternative route being marked.

To help you find your way during unplanned diversions, alternative routes have been provided around motorways and trunk roads. These are clearly marked with diversion signs, showing a black shape symbol on a yellow background.

If you’re diverted off a road or a motorway, you should follow the same symbol signs along your diversion route. As some roads form part of more than one diversion route, it’s important that you follow the same-shaped symbol. The signs will lead you back to the motorway or road you were travelling on at a point further on.

Knowing where you are

It's important to know your location if you:

  • break down
  • are involved in an accident
  • need to report something to the Highways Agency or emergency services

If you call from an emergency roadside phone, your location is automatically passed on to the control centre. But if you call from any other phone, you will need to give this information.

If you know the motorway and the direction (which side of the carriageway), you should look for a small blue roadside marker post. The number on this post will help to pinpoint your location.

If you can't see a marker post or need more information, look for a large blue driver location sign.

Report any problems you see

Reporting problems, like debris on the road, will help to minimise delays and risks to other drivers. To report a problem, call the Highways Agency 24-hour information line on 0300 123 5000.

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