'Thousands of miles' of British roads lack SOS signal

Unlucky drivers who break down on thousands miles of roads in the UK cannot call for help because there is no mobile phone signal, an independent motoring charity has warned. 

A study by the RAC Foundation found that about two per cent of the country’s entire road network (4,561 miles) does not receive any 2G coverage, which is the minimum required to make a call or send a text.

These are areas where “you would not want to break down or have an accident because calling the RAC, the emergency services or even home wouldn't be an option,” said charity director Steve Gooding. “Even where there is partial network coverage it might not be from your network provider.”

As is the case on a further 28,975 miles of the country’s roads, which only have partial 2G coverage, meaning that some not all phones will receive a signal.

Luckily, if a mobile phone user is in a location where their mobile phone network provides no coverage but another network does then an emergency call can be made. However, this is not possible if there is no network coverage available from any of the main network providers.

Figures from the study suggest that large areas of Scotland and Wales are of particular concern, with the Highlands (452 miles) Powys (437 miles) and Argyll and Bute the local authority areas with the most miles of road lacking any mobile signal.

Motorists who rely on their smartphones to access the internet for route planning and to check for congestion could also get into difficulty – as 14,554 miles of the country’s roads (around six per cent) suffer from a complete absence of 3G coverage, and a further 111,679 miles receive only partial coverage

“The concepts of connected cars and drivers is at the heart of much thinking about how we might make our travelling lives easier,” said Gooding, “but the best ideas in the world will fall at the first hurdle if there are no bars on the phone.”


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