The Highway Code
According to the highway code the rules on driving on motorways are not dissimilar from driving on dual carriageway. The laws concerning learner drivers driving on motorways have recently changed to reflect this. However it is important to note that it is still illegal for learners to drive on a motorway unless they are under the instruction of a qualified instructor and the car needs to be fitted with dual controls.
When entering a motorway it is important to build your speed so that you enter the left lane at the same speed of that lane. Whilst building your speed it is important to be looking in your mirrors at the vehicles already on the road to join in a safe place. It is also important to be aware of any vehicles in the second lane who may be joining the first lane.
Joining the motorway is probably the most dangerous part of a journey and should be practiced as many times as possible whilst accompanied by an experienced driver.
Once you have joined the left lane you should now get used to the speed of the road before attempting any overtaking as often the speed differential between secondary roads and the faster speed of a motorway could catch you out. As with all driving it’s important to be patient and observant at all times.
Know your speed limits
One of the most dangerous things you can do on any road (and in particular on national speed limit roads such as motorways) is to tailgate the vehicle ahead. Remember not all vehicles on motorways are legally allowed to to go up to 70mph. Some motorways will have two Chevrons spaced equally on each lane which can safely space out vehicles however these are not always present so the two second rule should should be still observed. In wet conditions this gap must double to four seconds. Often this gap will seem very large but don’t be fooled into following what other vehicles may be doing .
Planning ahead is essential on these roads and this planning must start before starting your journey. Make sure you have snacks and water for the journey and indeed warm and waterproof clothing in case of a breakdown. If you do breakdown your hazard lights must be on and you should park on the hard shoulder and exit your vehicle via the passenger door and stand behind the barrier. Hard shoulders are not safe places to be sat in your vehicle even if the weather is poor.
You must also plan when exiting the motorway so please get into the left hand lane a mile before your exit to save cutting across multiple lanes at the last second. Stay safe everyone!