Motorway Driving: Our Top Tips
If you’ve missed the recent news in the motoring world, Government ministers are planning to allow learner drivers to have lessons on motorways around the UK.
The change comes amid fears that learner motorists are putting themselves and others in unnecessary danger by taking smaller country roads, as they’re daunted by the prospect of motorway driving.
So this month, we’ve decided to bring together our top tips for motorway driving, ideal if you’re just starting out or haven’t driven on a motorway before.
Keep to the left (hand land)
Unless you’re overtaking, you should always stick to the left-hand lane, especially if you’re not as confident driving on motorways.
For those who aren’t as confident on the motorway, driving in the left-hand lane gives you a chance to match your speed to those already on the road, and lets you become accustomed to the increased speed compared to smaller country locations.
For the beginner drivers – and many seasoned travellers – middle lane hogging is a complete driving no-no.
Not only does it effectively reduce the motorway down from a three-lane road to a two-lane as traffic queues behind one driver, it causes unnecessary stress to other drivers who have to overtake into the outside lane.
Keep your distance
Tailgating other drivers is not only is it dangerous, but it is also illegal. Should you be caught tailgating, you’ll receive an on-the-spot fine of £100, and get three points added to your license.
The speed limit for motorways is 70 mph, but should an accident happen in front of you, you’ll need to react quickly. Do you know what the stopping distance for a vehicle travelling at this speed is? If not, it’s just 96 metres, which the RAC defines as 24 car lengths.
As your speed increases, so does the stopping distance, so if you’re too close to the car in-front of you and the other driver slams on their brakes, you’re in trouble.
Monitor your surroundings
Mirrors are there for a reason, so make sure that you check them. If you’re still learning, then aim to check your mirrors briefly every 30 seconds. A brief glance is all it takes, as a lot can change in that amount of time, especially on a motorway.
Checking your mirrors consistently can often be the different between a near miss and a safe journey. At the same time as this, you’ll be able to safely overtake other vehicles without putting yourself at risk.
You wouldn’t cross a road without looking both ways first, so why would you pull into a different lane without checking that it’s safe to do so?
Check your blind spot
This is essential when overtaking slower vehicles, and also when joining the motorway on a slip road. It can so often be overlooked, but can be the difference between an accident and a safe journey.
The blind spot is an area that you cannot see through your rear-view and side mirrors whilst driving. The most common blind spots in vehicles are:
- The windscreen pillar (commonly known as the A-pillar)
- Any additional A-pillars in the rear of vehicles
- Rear-quarter spots, usually through the rear windows in five-door cars
The best way to counter blind spots is to adjust your mirrors before you start any journey, and make sure that you can see as much as possible behind you before driving away.
Little known motorway facts
- Britain’s first motorway was opened on December 5th, 1958, and is now part of the M6 motorway.
- According to Oxford University research, pigeons use motorways to navigate their way around the UK. They’ve even been known to turn off at junctions.
- Hogging the middle lane is now illegal. If you find yourself driving for extended periods of time in the middle lane, you’re breaking the law.
- You should give priority to vehicles already on the motorway, even if you’re indicating to pull on from a slip road.
- The M-185 on Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA is the only car-less motorway in the country. You can only travel along it using a bike, a horse and carriage or on foot.
So there we have it, our top tips for driving on motorways. What do you think? If you’ve been driving for a while, what advise would you give to new drivers who are just taking their first journeys?
The team at Fourways Self Drive are always happy to advise our customers, so if you’re looking to rent a van or car near Shropshire, then get in touch with us here.