I ended up having to apply my brakes this morning a bit quicker and harder than I would normally like . My morning run to work takes me across Glasgow on the M8 , down the recently completed section of M74 and off at the Raith Intrrchange for Hamilton . The skies were bright and clear , but the road surface was wet with the light drizzle that was still falling and some spray was being thrown up by traffic . Nearing the end of the new section of M74 there were signs advising a hold up on the M8 , then a tailback of standing traffic on the exit lane for the M73 and slower moving traffic in lane 1 , so I found myself in lane 2 making reasonable progress . A short distance on , the M74 opens back out to three lanes and a fair amount of traffic coming down the slip from the M73 in two lanes and taking up lanes one and two of the three lane M74 , so I am now passing them in lane three , maintaining a steady 70 with a safe gap in front . My exit is now a couple of miles ahead , so I am starting to look for a way over to the nearside ; both other lanes are fairly busy so I proceed down lane 3 for a mile or so until I find a large and safe enough gap between two artics to move over into . Once in lane two we are passing even slower traffic then I find a gap to move into with about 300 yds ahead to the next vehicle . No sooner had I joined lane one than the brake lights of the van ahead come on , and I start to brake gently - expecting that he is slowing for the exit , still half a mile ahead . Next , I see the tail of a car ahead of him slew sideways across the hard shoulder , then snap straight again , and I realise the traffic hidden in front of the van has stopped , and the van is braking HARD . Thankfully , I still have about 200 yds available , but had to brake pretty hard myself , bringing ABS into operation on the damp surface for a second or so before pulling up safely - then checking my mirror , heart in mouth , to see if I was about to be rear ended . I was ready to floor it and escape down the hard shoulder , but could see the van I had moved over ahead of seconds earlier slowing safely behind me . I felt bad because I had not seen the queue of traffic in lane one ( a tailback here is unusual ) because of the other traffic in lane two blocking my view , and because of the larger vehicle ( Sprinter van ) ahead of me in lane one ; also because I was probably concentrating too much on making sure I was safely past the slow van I pulled in ahead of during the brief period I might have seen further down lane one . Just goes to show how suddenly things can change on the road .