In a recent announcement, the Government confirmed plans to allow learner drivers to drive on the motorway during their driving lessons from June 2018.
The law change comes to encourage confidence in learner drivers, ensure new drivers are prepared for motorway driving and reduce the number of accidents new drivers are involved in on the motorway.
Whilst the change in the law has attracted praise from driving bodies, some drivers have been less keen on the change, feeling it could actually make the roads more dangerous and disrupt those currently driving on the motorway. Find out more in our latest blog post.
Why Are Learner Drivers Being Let On The UK Motorway Network?
Currently, it is the case that learner drivers can pass their test and 5 minutes later hop on a motorway, even though they have no prior experience of driving on one. Not only does this pose a huge risk to other drivers, but the lack of confidence that comes with it often leads to new drivers avoiding the motorway altogether.
Allowing learners (supervised by a qualified driving instructor) onto the motorway gives them the chance to gain the skills, experience and confidence they need to drive safely on the motorway when the time comes.
The move has been welcomed by learner drivers, instructors and motoring groups alike; with the RAC and the AA both welcoming the law change.
Despite the change, parents (or those over 21 years old) will not be able to accompany a learner driver on the motorway. The way the driving test is taken will also remain unchanged, with no plans to introduce motorway driving as part of the test.
Won’t There Be More Motor Accidents?
It’s unlikely. Whilst there have been some concerns about the change, the biggest risk to drivers on the motorway has always been those that drive dangerously.
Learner drivers will need to accompanied by a fully qualified driving instructor who is comfortable in the learner’s ability to drive on the motorway, additionally, the car must have dual pedal controls; meaning the instructor can intervene at any time.
Other drivers are being urged to take extra care when driving alongside learners as their reaction and anticipation times are likely to be slower than most.
Safe Motorway Driving – Our Top Tips
Many people struggle with motorway driving, with around 6% of UK drivers admitting they actively avoid driving on the motorway. If you are one of these people, here are our top tips for keeping safe whilst driving on the motorway:
- Always drive at the speed limit
- Keep your car regularly MOT’d and serviced
- Keep an eye out for overhead signals of any upcoming obstructions or danger
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM THE CAR IN FRONT! Tailgating and late braking is a major cause of accidents on motorways
- Understand how driving differs on a smart motorway
- Reduce your speed if visibility drops
- Don’t drive tired
- Avoid any distractions such as very loud music
- Check your mirror before switching lanes
- Move a lane across when traffic is joining (so long as it’s safe to do so)
- Ensure your tyres are pumped up properly
- Ensure your wheels are properly aligned
For more detailed information on safe motorway driving, take a look at our guide to driving safely on the motorway. If you have recently passed your test and are confused about your new maintenance obligation over your vehicle, take a look at a selection of car maintenance FAQs for new drivers.
Quality Car Repairs and Servicing Chepstow
There is nothing more dangerous on the motorway than a damaged or faulty vehicle. If you’re looking for a local, trusted garage to carry out routine repairs, servicing and MOTs on your vehicle; give Autocare a call today on 01291 627 137.