Did you know that as a learner driver, motorway driving is now an option?
As of June 4th 2018, qualified driving instructors have been allowed to take students on the motorways in a dual-controlled vehicle. Find this daunting? We’re here to show you that it can be a fantastic option that will set up your driving career. Here’s our guide:
Motorway Driving for Learner Drivers
What differences do you need to be aware of for driving on a motorway?
The most important thing to good driving on the motorway is all-around awareness. Events happen quickly on a motorway so you need to anticipate everyone’s actions and reactions further in advance than you would on a more minor road. This means other vehicle’s actions in front of you as well as behind. The advantages to driving on a motorway are that there are fewer hazards to be aware of- you don’t have side-roads, pedestrians and driveways to be concerned with and the roads are designed for you to be able to look well ahead and behind.
Planning is also a major difference with driving on the motorways. As with all-around awareness, you must think several steps ahead with motorway driving and this includes planning for every action you take. You must be aware of how your actions will affect other drivers and complete every move with knowledge, safety, and care. The process of lane travelling includes selecting the correct lane to travel in most often. It also encompasses indicating, moving across, deciding when to accelerate and then when to move back into another lane for safe and efficient progress on the road. And all of these actions need calm and meticulous planning.
Reacting well to events is also a key component of excellent driving on the motorway. Although the motorways are statistically our safest roads, when situations occur, they can be very serious and the right actions can be vital. This includes things like defensive driving, reacting to signs and signals, emergency vehicles and knowing how to respond if you breakdown. These are all things that any experienced driver or guide can talk you through. But it’s real-life experience that will really help you gain confidence and increase your thinking pace to save those precious minutes if any minor or major motorway event does occur in your driving career.
How can your instructor help you learn to drive on the motorway?
Having your instructor at your side to guide you through this road experience is a huge advantage, even for confident new drivers but especially for learner drivers. At Awards Driving School, we’ve welcomed the change to legislation allowing students to experience our fastest roads. Your instructor’s car is a safe and controlled environment which allows you to learn not from trial and error but from proper instruction.
As instructors, we can help prompt you on things like your all-round awareness and help you think critically about what how your driving is different and aid you in surveying the road conditions. We can also assist you with every element of planning in driving and help you to make the smoothest transitions both joining and exiting the motorway and changing between lanes. This will help you to gain a deep understanding of what excellent motorway driving is so that you can replicate this in future. We’ll also talk you through how you would respond to anything going wrong in motorway driving. This knowledge will then stay with you at a deeper level than the knowledge you learn in driving theory revision because you have a clearer picture of motorway driving and how these events could occur in your driving experience.
What key vehicle handling skills do you need to focus on?
You’ll only be taken onto the motorway when your driving instructor knows that you’re capable and it will have a positive effect on your driving skills. At this point, you’ll have seen many different driving scenarios and have near-perfect control over the vehicle. There are still some factors in motorway driving that you’ll have to be aware of and focus on to achieve your best driving ability on these roads. Many students find the challenge of these skills an enjoyable part of their motorway lessons.
Speed judgement and management will be the biggest skill you’ll have to get used to in driving on the motorway. At speeds up to 70mph your vehicle will feel very different to handling it at speeds in residential areas and even country roads where you’ve been allowed to reach speeds of up to 60mph. At these speeds, it’s also of an increasing importance to be able to judge the speed of other road users and vehicles. This will be an important skill you will demonstrate when changing lanes, accelerating and also ensuring you have the correct stopping distances between you and the other vehicles.
Your observation skills must be at their sharpest on the motorway. This includes when you join the motorway and travelling in each of the lanes. Observing signs and following diversions and roadwork commands is also a very important skill and something your instructor will help you to practice. Motorway driving for learner drivers is a great opportunity to exercise your observation skills.
How do motorways benefit your driving ahead of passing your test?
What is the biggest benefit of driving on the motorway before passing your test? Your confidence as a driver will improve greatly. When it comes to taking your practical driving test, you have to believe that you are the driver and that you can handle any road situation in a calm and successful manner. By practicing your decision-making and driving skills on our busiest and fastest roads, your instructor will be demonstrating their trust in your abilities. You will also demonstrate your own capabilities to yourself and sharpen your skills, meaning that when you do take your test, you’ll be far calmer about any manouveres or driving situations you might encounter.
Driving on the motorway with your instructor also helps you to develop good habits for all roads but especially motorways and dual carriageways.
What should you do to prepare for a motorway driving lesson?
It’s always a good idea to revise the highway code for motorway driving. This will give you a good idea of what key rules you need to keep in mind when travelling on the motorway. Any practice driving on dual carriageways and getting used to planning longer journeys is also an excellent way to prepare.
At Awards Driving School, we’re committed to giving the best driving experience to our students and this includes helping you to succeed at every area, including motorway driving. If you would like to know more or wish to book your lessons, then get in touch with us today by calling 0800 955 3800 or through our Contact Us Page.