Driving on the motorway is meant to be one of the safest places to drive. However, many of us are not taught how to drive on the motorway which means drivers end up making serious driving mistakes. Here we discuss motorway safety driving tips.
The best motorway safety driving tips
If you are a new driver and have not driven on the motorway before we always recommend taking a pass plus, the scheme allows you to gain experience driving on motorways. On the course the instructor will inform you of all hazards you will encounter and how you can deal with them.
If you have driven on the motorway but do not feel comfortable driving, we recommend taking a named driver on your insurance policy out with you who can guide your drive. But they are also there as a safety net in case you no longer feel comfortable driving.
How do Motorways work!
Before you take a journey on the motorway, you must ensure you know how motorways work and what the lanes are used for. A standard motorway in the UK holds three lanes; some may have more for congestions reasons. The left-hand lane is for average speed driving; both the middle and right-hand lane is for overtaking. You must be aware if you hog the middle or right-hand lane you could receive a fine.
There is a range of slower moving vehicles that are not permitted to go into the right-hand lane on the motorway; this is due to their speed restrictions and weight. 7.5 tonnes and trailers are unable to overtake at high speed. If you are driving one of these vehicles, we recommend going through trailer training or 7.5-tonne training, so you know how to drive on the motorway safely without causing any hazards.
How to take on a slip road
All UK motorways have you enter on the left-hand side of the road; this means when travelling down the slip road you should be engaging with your wing mirror to effectively assess the oncoming traffic. Many people do not speed up on the slip road and will often slow down to try and fit in with the traffic. However, it is dangerous to do so, and you could be causing a hazard. The safest way for you to enter the motorway is the match the speed of the traffic already driving.
Another top tip to consider is never stopping on the slip road unless the traffic is at a standstill. It is extremely dangerous to do so and can cause a significant accident.
Most drivers on the motorway are safe and will overtake others with care. However, you will in some cases get a bad driver trying to overtake when it is not safe to do so, or at a significantly high speed.
If you wish to overtake another driver there are few things you need to consider; you can only overtake in the middle and right -hand lane, do not undertake, this means if a car is in the middle-lane you should not be undertaking in the left-hand lane as it is illegal. When ready to overtake make sure you are looking in your wing mirror to assess the oncoming traffic you should also check your blind spots, only overtake when there is a safe gap.
Overtaking is often where crashes can occur if people drive carelessly it can often result in wing mirrors being hit or bumpers being scratched. If you do find yourself in this predicament, we recommend taking your vehicle for bumper scuff repair or minor crash repair.
Tailgaters are your worst nightmare
We understand at times the motorway can get congested which means you drive closer to the car in front of you due to the low speed. However, as soon as the speed picks up, you should always be able to see the wheel of the car in front of you. This means you have enough time to brake if they do or if an accident has occurred.
Remember if you are driving behind larger vehicles their blind spots are different to yours, they may not be able to see you. Another reason to not drive so close to larger vehicle is important signs can be missed such as speed limit or road warnings.
Tailgating can be extremely dangerous especially if the vehicle in front of you has to brake quickly if you are to close you could cause an accident, which will ruin not only your car but also the other drivers.
Mirrors are your bestfriend
Motorway driving is different to your everyday town driving, and drivers often forget to look in their mirrors on the motorway. When driving on UK motorways you should be aware of your surrounding at all times, know where other drivers are around you, what speed you should be going and braking distances between you and vehicle in front.
You should be checking your mirrors regularly as drivers change lanes often. Accidents can often be missed by knowing what is happening around you.
Driving on the motorway should never be scary, it is one of the safest roads you can drive on, there are no roundabouts or traffic lights to worry about. You should always think about the way you are driving and how you are using your car to help you navigate on the motorway. Mirrors are extremely important and are there for a reason so use them.
Before driving on the motorway for the first time, we recommend giving the highway code a read, so you know how to use a motorway properly.If you do feel worried about driving on the motorway, you should take a registered driver with you, that way if you do get nervous and feel as though you can no longer drive they can take over.
Do not panic when driving on the motorway, at the end of the day think of it as one long straight road. After a couple of journeys, you will soon get the hang of it. Just make sure yourself and other road users are as safe as possible to minimise the risk of an accident.