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Driving Newsletter - Tips and Advice on Passing your Driving Test

Considering Motorway Driving

New drivers and first time motorway driving

  • why driving on a motorway is different
  • specialist motorway driving courses

As a learner driver, you won’t have had the opportunity to get any motorway driving experience. The law is quite clear when it states that learners aren’t allowed – and for good reason. The speed, complexity and fluidity with which traffic negotiates a motorway is far beyond the skill level of a learner, who could, with one wrong indication, one forgotten mirror check, cause a high-speed multiple-car collision.

It’s a sobering thought, and one that perhaps puts many newly qualified drivers off using motorways. That’s why so many advanced driving courses deal with motorway driving, and if you’re a bit nervous about tackling this rather mountainous molehill, then consider taking a course. Better safe than sorry, after all.

Motorway driving is completely different to anything else you’ll encounter on the roads. Yes, you can drive at 70mph on a dual carriageway, so the speed is not necessarily something new. But a dual carriageway only has 2 lanes for you to watch out for. A motorway can have anything from 2 to 5 lanes, with the standard being 3 or 4. That’s 4 lanes of traffic moving at a minimum of 60mph. In 2009, 52% of cars on UK motorways travelled at more than the 70mph speed limit, and 16% of cars (equivalent to 1 in 6) drove at 80mph or faster. You’ve got to look in all three mirrors, because people are constantly overtaking, pulling back in, joining the motorway, leaving the motorway or, occasionally, undertaking, despite this being really quite illegal.

Joining a motorway is perhaps the most nerve-wracking in the short term. Finding a big enough slot for your car to slide into, making sure you’re up to speed with the other cars, all in the space of a few seconds before your lane vanishes (and isn’t that a scary prospect? What do you do if you reach the end?? ).

All this resolves itself into the one truth you can rely on when it comes to motorways: it’s all a matter of experience. You can’t possibly know what it’s like until you’ve tried it, and once you’ve had a few attempts, it does all get a hell of a lot easier. If you’re attempting it for the first time and you have dual controls, it makes everything a lot less stressful.

Book yourself onto an advanced driving course now.

And fear not, intrepid driver: it’s junction 9 next, and the end is in sight.

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