If you’re a learner driver, you likely want to know exactly where you can and can’t drive.
In 2018, the law changed to allow learner drivers on the motorway.
While motorway driving doesn’t form part of the practical test, it is a skill that must be included in learner driver education. Young drivers need to be aware of the risks of high-speed driving and learn to be responsible on these busy roads.
Rules of Driving on the Motorway for Learner Drivers
Motorway driving is different from driving on standard A-C roads. The driving is faster, with more lanes and heightened risk. It requires different skills and some additional knowledge as the rules of the road are not the same as on smaller roads. Driving on the motorway also requires confidence and increased awareness of other road users.
Up until 2018, motorway driving lessons only existed for those who already have their licenses. As this was an optional course, not many drivers took it, which meant that many new drivers had their first motorway driving experience alone in their car without the proper knowledge.
In 2018, the law changed, and driving schools could begin to give their learner drivers lessons on the motorway, but some strict rules and stipulations were in place. You can read about them below:
Be accompanied by an approved driving instructor
If you are taking motorway driving lessons, you must be accompanied by an approved driving instructor (ADI). Your parents or friends are not allowed to teach you to drive on the motorway unless they hold an ADI licence.
Drive a vehicle with dual controls
Another key point is that you must learn to drive on the motorway in a vehicle with dual controls. Dual controls allow the instructor to take over if a problem arises, which ensures the safety of other drivers on the motorway, as well as you and your instructor.
Wet or icy roads, for example, can be hazardous for learner drivers, and an instructor is essential to prevent accidents.
Tips for Driving on the Motorway as a New Driver
Driving on the motorway as a beginner can be intimidating. We’ve put together some tips to make your first experiences on the motorway after passing your driving test less stressful.
Avoid driving alone
Having an experienced driver with you offers reassurance and also provides you with a navigator so you can focus on the task at hand.
Another option is to have a few extra motorway lessons with a driving instructor to increase your confidence after passing your driving test.
Stay in your lane
Keeping to the left-hand lane is the best option when you’re first on the motorway. The right-hand lane is for overtaking, while the left-hand lane is for driving.
Staying in the left lane will keep you safe and make the experience less stressful. It also makes it easier to stick to the speed limit.
Use your mirrors
Your mirrors are vital when driving, no matter what road you’re on. However, on the motorway, they’re extra important and help you monitor traffic flow and the movements of vehicles behind you.
Before making any moves on the motorway, you need to make sure to check your mirrors correctly, especially when changing lanes or overtaking other vehicles.
Match their speed (but stick to the limit)
An important skill to master when travelling on the motorway is the ability to match the speed of other vehicles, which is very important when merging into traffic or changing lanes.
You need to judge the speed of the other vehicles so that when you enter the other lane, you don’t interrupt the flow of traffic. Interrupting traffic flow can cause an accident, so it is best avoided.
However, it is also important to stick to the speed limit. While some drivers disregard it, the limit is there for a reason, and sticking to it ensures your safety.
If you find that the drivers in your lane are pushing you to drive faster than the limit, you can change lanes to the left. If this isn’t possible, hold your ground – the other driver can overtake you if they wish to speed.
Take a break
Driving on the motorway takes a lot of concentration and can be very tiring, especially on long trips. You’ll find plenty of service stations on the motorway, so make use of them and give yourself a break from the road.
Can you drive on the motorway if you’re a learner?
Learner drivers are allowed to drive on the motorway provided they are in a dual-controlled car and are accompanied by an approved driving instructor.
Parents and friends cannot give you motorway lessons unless they hold an ADI licence.
Can you drive on the motorway with a provisional licence?
You can only drive on the motorway with a provisional license if you have an ADI with you and if you are in a car with dual controls. Once you have passed your driving test, you will be allowed to join other road users on the motorway unsupervised.
What roads are learners not allowed on?
Learner drivers are permitted to drive on all roads. However, they must be accompanied by an ADI when driving on the motorway in a vehicle with dual controls. For all other roads, learner drivers can be supervised by anyone over 25 who has had a full driving licence for at least three years.
Get Learner Driver Insurance with GoShorty
Learning how to drive on the motorway can be an intimidating experience, but with a qualified instructor, you can gain confidence quickly and become a very competent driver.
When learning to drive, it’s important to get out on the road and practice your driving skills. But don’t forget about getting appropriate insurance.
For more information, discover how learner insurance works.