For many people in the UK, motorway driving can be a source of stress; with some drivers actively avoiding motorway driving where they can. Whilst statistics show there are far few accidents on the motorway compared to other roads, the speed at which vehicles travel means incidents are often more severe.
To reduce stress on the motorway, we have composed a number of fundamental tips and techniques to help you minimise risks and make your motorway experience a pleasant one, from the slip road to the exit.
Tips When Joining The Motorway
Motorways may be joined from a roundabout or main A road, the road joining onto the motorway is referred to as a slip road, this road is used to adjust your vehicle’s speed to match that of vehicles already on the motorway. When joining the motorway, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep an eye on the motorway, look for any congestion or large slow vehicles in the left lane.
- Traffic on the motorway is likely to be travelling at 60-80mph in normal conditions.
- Avoid joining the motorway at a slow speed, this can be very dangerous.
- ‘Mark your spot’ – on your approach, try and find a gap with plenty of room to fit your vehicle into.
- As you approach the motorway, indicate right to show traffic your intention to join.
- Once you have entered the motorway, take note of any signs that may indicate any congestion or lane closures.
- If you are already on the motorway and see a vehicle coming down a slip road, if you can, move over a lane to let them enter safely – do not adjust your speed dramatically or flash them out.
Tips For Safe Travel On The Motorway
Once on the motorway, it’s important to be extra vigilant to ensure you do not cause an accident, here are a few tips to consider when travelling on the motorway:
- Check your speed! Driving at much slower speeds is likely to cause an accident, bare in mind that not everyone drives the speed limit (70mph) if a vehicle behind is travelling a lot faster than you, move to an inside lane when it’s safe to do so and allow it to pass.
- Leave a safe distance, the rule of thumb is to leave around a 2-second gap between your vehicle and the one in front, this gives enough time to adapt to any sudden speed changes, this length should be changed with weather conditions accordingly.
- Keep checking those mirrors, to avoid the risk of an accident it’s imperative to know what’s happening behind you just as much as it is to look in front. Check your mirrors regularly, and every time you switch lanes.
- It is advisable to stay as far left as possible on the motorway, however, when you need to overtake a slower moving vehicle check your mirrors and indicate before pulling out. When returning to your lane, leave at least 2-cars length on the vehicle you overtook.
- Minimise distractions, if you’re travelling with children make sure they have plenty to occupy them. Keep your music at a low enough volume to allow horns and sirens to be audible.
Tips For Exiting The Motorway Safely
Exiting the motorway is usually slower than your entrance, here are a few tips for a smooth departure:
- Plan, return to the inside lane when you know your exit is approaching, you want to make sure you are in the correct lane in the event of queues or congestion at the exit.
- Always check your mirror and indicate when exiting the motorway.
- Don’t speed up to overtake slow vehicles before taking the exit, the slower vehicles will usually move to the middle lane to allow people to exit to the left.
- Slip roads off the motorway usually lead up to a roundabout or junction, slow down and be prepared to stop.
Other Things To Bare In Mind
- Both fuel and food are more expensive at motorway service stations.
- Always keep your car stocked with water bottles in case of unexpected queues and congestion.
- Tired? If you do feel tired during a motorway trip, pull over at the nearest service station to rest, if you can’t wait – use the hard shoulder.
- Not wearing a seatbelt can result in fines of up to £500, anybody over 14 years old is responsible for their own seatbelt.
- If you are stuck in traffic, avoid opening doors, do not exit your vehicle and be wary of motorcycles filtering through traffic.
Fear Of Motorway Driving
If motorway driving is a daunting prospect for you, you are not alone. In a survey conducted by the RAC, some 6% of the 8m respondents admitted to actively avoiding motorway driving, with the main reasons cited being they felt more at risk of an accident and the speed at which the traffic travels being daunting.
If you fear motorway driving, consider investing in some motorway driving lessons – these extracurricular lessons are offered by most driving instructors. If not, try driving on the motorway with a friend or relative first to calm your nerves.
Make Sure Your Car Is Well Maintained
Before any long journey, you should check your tyre pressure, oil levels and level of the windscreen and brake fluids – regularly servicing your vehicle reduces the chances of a breakdown dramatically.
If you need to book your vehicle in for a service or have any questions regarding motorway driving, give our friendly team a call on 01291 627137 or get in touch here