February 13, 2019
Driving on the motorway can be a daunting task for new drivers. It’s not something you’re allowed to do before passing your test, so it’s normal to feel a little anxious and unprepared. With practice, however, you’ll soon get the hang of it – follow these 7 motorway tips for new drivers and you’ll soon be zipping down the M1 like a pro.
1. Consider further lessons
You might think that after passing your test, you can forget about driving lessons. But if you’re nervous about driving on the motorway, or could just do with a few pointers, the Pass Plus course can equip you with the skills and confidence you need, as well as reduce your insurance premiums. It gives you a chance to practice with in a control car, which although is unlikely to be needed, may give you the confidence you need when driving on the motorway for the first time.
2. Practise on dual carriageways
If you have a fast dual carriageway that you’re used to driving on, you probably already know how to drive on a motorway. Use it to practise skills like merging, overtaking and driving at the national speed limit, and the first time you drive on a motorway, you’ll wonder what the fuss was about.
3. Take someone with you
Driving by yourself will be a new experience if you’ve just passed your test. You might find it helps to bring a friend, partner or parent along in the passenger seat, to boost morale and offer (helpful) motorway tips. Make sure you choose wisely as you don’t want to add any additional stress to the situation – pick someone who is calm and collected who will put you at ease.
4. Know the rules
What colour are the cat’s eyes next to a slip road? Who has priority when a car is merging onto the motorway? How far should you be from the car in front? Studying the Highway Code before your first motorway drive will help you to understand how to drive on the motorway, become more confident and drive more safely. Still struggling to remember whats what? Try learning in a different way – there are a number of driving apps available to download to your smart phone or tablet that can aid your learning, as well as making it more fun!
5. Use P plates
You’ve torn up your L plates, but if you need them, you could attach P plates to your car. These let other drivers know that you’ve only just passed your test, and are designed to help you make the transition to a confident driver. Some people think that P plates encourage other drivers to be more hostile, but others find they are comforting and make them feel more secure. They’re great for when you’re visiting an unfamiliar place or if you’re driving in adverse conditions.
6. Get up to speed
Driving at 70mph can be scary if you’re used to slower speeds. But on the motorway, it’s important to keep up with other cars. Don’t be afraid to accelerate to match the speed of the cars already on the motorway when merging, or you’ll find it difficult to find a gap. If you don’t feel comfortable driving at 70, make sure you keep to the left-hand lane instead of ‘hogging’ one of the overtaking lanes and causing a tailback.
7. Check your car before setting out
One big difference between motorways and other roads is that you can’t just pull over on the motorway. You’ll only get the opportunity to stop when you reach a service station, so if you would like to avoid an unscheduled break on the hard shoulder, it’s important to undertake some basic checks to ensure that your car will run smoothly for the duration of your journey. Fill up with fuel, make sure there’s enough air in your tyres, and top up your fluids before setting off. If you’re going on a long trip, it’s a good idea to get your car serviced before you go.