RAC Cars News


Advice For New Drivers On The Motorway

By raccars Published

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Statistically, you are safer driving on the motorway in Britain than on any other road. However, many of us suffer some nervousness and anxiety at the thought, particularly younger and more inexperienced drivers. Even if you are an old hand at motorway driving and long car journeys, it doesn't hurt to refresh your memory on how to handle the speed.

Make sure you know where you are going, even if you will be using a satellite navigation system. You should plan to take a break every couple of hours, so it helps to work out the best places to stop ahead of time. Consider carrying an emergency package containing a blanket, some water and a snack just in case of breakdowns and particularly in winter.

In general, driving on the motorway is safer than other roads as there is a more consistent speed of traffic and the roads tend to be straighter and flatter. This can mean drivers become complacent and fail to pay as much attention as they should. Remember the 'two second rule,' which means you should maintain a minimum distance of two seconds away from the car in front. While you can reasonably drive faster on the motorway than on other roads, you must tailor your speed to the circumstances and the surrounding traffic - too fast is obviously dangerous but so is too slow.

As other motorists are also driving faster, make sure you indicate ahead of manoeuvres such as changing lanes, checking your mirrors thoroughly before moving and avoiding becoming distracted by activity inside the car. Overtaking is perfectly acceptable as long as you follow the rule of keeping to the left hand lane, unless you are actively overtaking another vehicle because you are travelling at a higher speed. It's even more important to plan your journey and drive according to conditions in bad weather.

While breakdowns are always inconvenient, they can be even more uncomfortable and even frightening on the motorway. Should something go wrong with your car, first of all remain calm. Use your hazard lights and quickly but carefully move over to the hard shoulder, keeping as far away from the road as you reasonably can. There are emergency telephones located at regular distances along all UK motorways, which will transmit your position automatically to roadside assistance.

Remain on the grass verge, away from the road, while you await your recovery. If another car stops, return to your vehicle, lock your doors and remind them that it is illegal to stop on the motorway, even if it is to offer assistance.

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