Since June 2018, learner drivers have been able to take lessons on the motorway if their driving instructor deems them competent enough in their skills. Learners need to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor and drive a car that’s fitted with dual controls.
It’s hoped that giving learners exposure to motorways will create a better understanding of how to drive safely at high speed.
If you are a young driver hoping to begin a career in the motor trade, or you employ young apprentices, motorway training could help to reduce the risk of accidents and prevent claims on your motor trade insurance policy. For those looking for motor trade insurance for under 21s, or family fleet insurance, knowledge of motorway driving could help to keep premiums down.
A Change in the Law
Statistically, new drivers are more at risk of having accidents during the early months of having a licence. According to the RAC, many new drivers avoid the 70mph roads altogether after passing their test, with one in 12 licence holders staying off motorways for at least half a year. By introducing provisional drivers to the motorway early, it is thought they will be more confident and have a greater understanding of the rules.
Driving Safely on Britain’s Motorways
To help protect you while on the motorway, here is Tradex’s top tips to keeping you safe, while keeping your premiums down by preventing accidents and loss of your no claims bonus.
1. Don’t speed on the motorway
The speed limit on the motorway is 70mph. As a new driver, it’s a good idea to ease yourself in gently to motorway speeds. Anything over 70mph is deemed dangerous, and you will run the risk of upsetting other drivers if you begin hassling them in their lane.
2. Slow driving can be dangerous
Driving too slowly is almost as dangerous as driving too fast. If you are confident enough, try to stick to a reasonable speed and remain in the inside (slow) lane so that other drivers can easily overtake.
3. Tailgating other cars
It’s not only extremely annoying but tailgating other road users by driving too close can cause accidents. On today’s exceptionally busy motorways, it’s common to be forced to slow down or stop suddenly for traffic accidents or road works. Always leave a safe gap between you and the car in front.
4. Hogging the middle lane
The middle lane should generally be used to overtake slower traffic in the left-hand lane, and you shouldn’t remain in the middle lane if the inside lane is empty. Cars and vans hogging the middle lane are especially frustrating for HGV drivers who then can’t overtake vehicles in front, even though they have built up enough speed to do so, forcing them to brake.
5. Inadequate signalling when changing lanes
Aside from speeding, this is one of the biggest causes of accidents on the motorway. Always check all your mirrors and signal well in advance before you make a manoeuvre so that other road users are aware of your intention. Signalling early before joining a motorway from a slip road is essential to alert others that you are moving into the slow lane.
6. Never drive on the hard shoulder
The hard shoulder is for emergency stops, highway patrol, police cars, ambulances or breakdowns. Stopping on the hard shoulder for a snack, to go to the toilet or even use your mobile phone is illegal and extremely dangerous so avoid it and wait until the motorway services instead.