Motorway Driving

Driving on the motorway for the first time can be a pretty daunting prospect for new drivers.

Flexdrive driving school suggests you either do our pass plus course or take a short course of motorway driving so your driving instructor can coach you in the differences between it and dual carriageways. This will help you get confident and safe.

1: Don’t go alone

In a perfect world you would have a couple of lessons with your instructor after your test so you can be eased into the more advanced areas of driving within a safe environment. In the likely case that that’s not an option, a parent with whom you have already practised would be great to take with you on your first motorway experience.

 2: Joining

Joning motorwayTravel at the same speed as the traffic when joining the motorway. As you travel along the slip road you should be increasing your speed to match that of the traffic, following the normal ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ procedure to identify a safe space between cars.

3: Make the most of your mirrors

Correct use of mirrors is a significant part of safe driving on the motorway. Before you leave, ensure that they are positioned appropriately and that they
are free of dirt and grime. They’ll be needed whenever you join a motorway or change lanes, so make sure they’re in peak condition.
Remember your blind spots! Mirrors cannot always give you the necessary field of view, and when dealing with other road users at high speeds you can never be too careful.

4: Be mindful of speed restrictions

National speed limit sign - FlexdriveThe national limit for cars is 70mph, but be wary of changes to this, such as in areas of roadworks. Breaking the speed limit is illegal and extremely dangerous, so obey the 70 mph limit and keep to the correct lane for your speed.

5. Lanes and Overtaking

Unless moving past slower moving traffic, you should always be in the left hand lane of the road. When you are overtaking, use the normal ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine when changing lanes and don’t sit in the middle or outside lanes.

 6. Maintain a safe distance

When at the high speeds of the motorway you need much more space to come to a stop. Obey the 2 second rule to keep a safe distance away from the vehicle in front:
Choose a stationary object such as a bridge or mile marker; when the car in front passes it, begin counting. Stop counting when you pass the same marker, and maintain at least a 2 second gap to ensure that you have enough space to stop safely. This will need to be 4 seconds on a wet day and up to 10 in ice conditions.

7. Rest!

Studies (see this link) show that tiredness behind the wheel makes you more likely to drive unsafely and have an accident. On long journeys, take a 15 minute break AT LEAST every 2 hours.

8. Use your hazard lights

If you come upon slow moving traffic, or any other situation that could pose a danger to the drivers following you, use your hazard lights to make those behind aware.

9. In case of a breakdown

Always exit the vehicle (through the door furthest from the carriageway) and wait on the verge for help. Being hit by moving traffic is the biggest danger to those stopped at the side of the road.

 10. Leave the motorway correctly

leaving motorwayPlanning your route and watching for the junction signs will ensure you’re aware of where the exact is and can prepare to leave safely. When you’re close, move into the left lane. Signal left at the 300 yard marker and ideally maintain your speed until you’ve left the motorway to avoid presenting a danger to those behind you.