Right Driver

Learner drivers on motorways

If a learner driver is accompanied by an Approved Driving Instructor and is driving a car fitted with dual controls, they could be allowed to drive on the motorway for lessons if the instructor agrees that the driver is competent enough. While it’s in the proposal stage at the moment, many are welcoming the change.

RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding, said, “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast moving, often heavy, flow of traffic.

“Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”

Motorway driving requires a different set of skills to driving on a single carriageway. Traffic is moving faster and could be passing on either side, there can be more buffeting from large vehicles, and drivers need to learn to use slip roads to adjust to an appropriate speed, plus be able to merge into fast-flowing traffic.

countdown signs on motorway

Signs such as these are learned but are not put into practice if learner drivers can’t drive on the motorway

Overtaking is another skill that is different to single carriageway roads with the potential for faster drivers to be approaching in the nearside lane. It’s important that drivers learn how to anticipate dangers associated with motorway driving, and to be able to put into practice theory that they will be learning.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said “We have some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer. These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

DVSA is also asking for opinions on whether L-plate roof boxes should be removed and whether existing ADI training is sufficient for motorway tuition.

At the moment it is still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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