Driving on the motorway, especially your first few journeys can be a challenge, however statically speaking, motorways are the safest type of roads and the advice contained in this guide, should help you prepare for life on the main carriageway.
Our top tips for driving on the motorway are as follows;
Rule 253 of the Highway Code, prohibits learner drivers from driving on the motorway and because of this, most newly qualified drivers have no experience of this particular road time by the time they get their driver’s license. To widen your experience you can either book the pass plus driving course which has a module on motorway driving, or you can explicitly book motorway driving lessons with a fully qualified driving instructor, to help you get used to this particular type of road.
When travelling on the motorway it is important to use your mirrors as often as possible. You are taught the MSM driving routine from your first driving lesson and when driving on the motorway, it is doubly important to use your mirrors and be as observant as you can. Traffic moves very quickly, you have less time to make judgement and because of this, your mirrors become much more important. While checking your mirrors, ensure you monitor your blind spots frequently, checking for vehicles you have not seen and fast approaching motorcycles.
Overtaking is by far the riskiest driving manoeuvre you can perform when driving on the motorway. The speed you are travelling at increases the chances of you losing control of the car and it is major cause of the accidents on the carriageway. When attempting to overtake, always use the MSM routine, ensure the road ahead of you is clear, the weather is suitable for the manoeuvre and there are no hazards ahead of the car you plan to pass.
Planning your journey can make a big difference to your drive. Using a map while driving on the motorway is dangerous, therefore it is good practice to know which junction you will be joining and leaving the motorway on before you set off. You should also find out whether there are road works or on accident on your potential route, as this could cause severe delays and before you leave, have an alternative route in mind in case your primary route is no longer accessible.
Driving on the motorway requires your full attention. The speed you are travelling at demands this and you need to be as aware of your immediate surroundings as possible. Do not use your mobile phone while driving, reduce the volume of any music or the radio, refrain from using a map and ask the other occupants to be mindful of the road situation and reduce the noise in the car.
Driving while tired on the motorway is very dangerous and can have severe consequences. If you find yourself tired while driving, open the window to ensure a fresh supply of air and stop when it is safe, convenient and legal to. Motorway service areas are great places to rest and regain your energy before continuing your journey.
If you are unfortunate enough to breakdown on the motorway, the first thing you need to do is not panic. It can be daunting coming to an unexpected stop on the carriage way; however there are few things you can do to remain safe. First off, move over to the hard shoulder as soon as possible; keep to the extreme left when in it and the closer you are to a telephone the better. The telephones on the motorway are linked to the Highway Agency control centre and they will be able to pinpoint your exact location, making it quicker than using your mobile phone to call for assistance. Once safely at a stop, switch on your hazard lights, ensure all occupants have exited the car and remain on the embankment until help arrives.