7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR FIRST MOTORWAY DRIVE
When you pass your test you have to get used to driving without a passenger directing you, getting used to the ‘crazy in a rush’ drivers that seem to be out in force nowadays and also driving on the motorway; a daunting experience for anyone!
Interestingly, statistically it is safer to drive on the motorway than other types of road. This does make sense if you think about it, everyone is driving at a similar speed, in the same direction on a relatively straight road. However, the speed that you are travelling and the volume of cars can, understandably, make you nervous.
Below I have listed 6 things that you can think about to try and make sure your first motorway drive goes as smoothly as possible:
- Planning – find your route, jot down your junction numbers and ensure you are not caught off guard when looking for your exit.
- Try not to go alone – having an experienced driver can help to reassure you and help navigate while you familiarise yourself with the process of driving on the motorway.
- Take it steady – Don’t go rushing off the slip road into the middle lane to overtake that massive lorry driving at 60mph. Gradually build your speed and use your indicators in good time to let other drivers know what you are doing. Similarly, when you plan to leave the motorway don’t leave it till the last minute to whip into the inside lane, leave plenty of time.
- Don’t Hesitate - Hesitation can cause confusion with other drivers. Make sure you check your mirrors, blind spot and signal in good time; if you have done this hand have made your decision to move lanes stick with it and other drivers will accommodate you.
- Mirrors – Check your mirrors regularly, ensure you know what is happening around you; this is a crucial part of driving on the motorway so you know what other drivers are doing.
- Indicators – Always use indicators when changing lanes so other drivers know what you are doing.
Important things to remember when driving on the motorway:
- The speed limit for UK motorways is 70mph, however, ensure you watch for variations as a result of road works, adverse weather or accidents.
- Lane hogging and tailgating can result in an on-the-spot-fine of £100 and 3 points on your licence.
- Stopping distances at speeds of 70mph will be considerably longer than on around town roads, so ensure you maintain a safe stopping distance between you and the car in front.
- Take regular breaks from motorway driving and do not drive on the motorway if you are tired – ensure you are safe to be driving and the people around you are safe too.