The move from driving on a 30mph road to tackling a dual carriageway is often daunting. It isn’t just being able to control the car under greater speeds, but also managing your awareness of the cars around you. It can be scary but, once you have mastered a few basic motorway rules, it will become as natural to you as driving down a residential road.
Judge Your Driving Condition
It is obviously always important to be in the right condition to drive, something that is never truer than where you are on a motorway. Never drive if you are tired or unwell, as managing motorways takes lots of concentration. If you need to rest at any point then make sure you do. Stop at a motorway service area to recoup. Never pull over onto the hard shoulder, unless it is a complete emergency though, as this is a criminal offence.
Joining the Motorway
Before joining a motorway or dual carriageway it is important to judge the traffic speed. This will help you not only get in the appropriate lane, but also mean you keep up with the traffic.
Check the road markings as you join the motorway. This way you will know where to join and can determine whether your lane may follow straight on.
Indicate your intention to join the motorway. This allows other drivers to assess their own speed and make room if possible.
Only join when there is a safe gap in the left lane for you to utilise. A blind spot check (look over your right shoulder) is needed to check there isn’t a vehicle behind that you can’t see.
Leaving the Motorway
You will need to look out for signs telling you that your exit is coming up. As you get closer there will be a mile sign, then a half mile sign and then, once close enough, count down markers.
Make sure you are in the left lane in plenty of time and use your mirrors well. The traffic is fast moving and changes very quickly.
You should indicate in plenty of time before you leave. If you miss your exit just drive on to the next one.
Once you have left you will see signs for ‘End of Motorway’. This means you may have different rules to follow. After driving at motorway speed for some time your judgement of speed can be affected. 40 or 50 mph will feel like 25mph, so make sure to check your speedometer.
Why not download our PDF and make sure that when you’re out practicing you know everything you need to about managing motorways.