Top motorway tips for new drivers

For most newly qualified drivers the thought of taking to Britain’s expansive motorway network fills them with dread. And with one in five Brits opting not to drive on motorways, this feeling seems to affect a lot of people. Despite what people think, our motorways are actually statistically Britain’s safest roads with fewer accidents than other types of roads. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top tips for preparing your car and yourself for driving on the motorway.

Prepare your car

As with any journey, it is important to do some simple checks on your car which only take a few minutes to complete. These should include tyre pressures, tread depth, engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant level, windscreen wipers and lights. Check that everything is working as it should help minimise the chances of your car breaking down or becoming unsafe, e.g. if your windscreen wipers don’t clear the windscreen properly.

Use slip roads properly

One of the most common mistakes people make when attempting to join a motorway is to slow down or even stop when attempting to join. The purpose of the slip road is to allow you to increase your speed to match that of the vehicles in the left hand lane. Using your mirrors you should be able to adjust your speed and join the motorway safely by matching the speed of other road users.

When exiting the motorway exits are clearly marked at least 1 mile in advance so at this point make sure to move into the left hand lane. Start indicating to leave the motorway at the 300-metre mark which is indicated by three vertical lines. If you can try to avoid braking until you are on the slip road and keep an eye on your speed to make sure you slow down enough from the higher speeds of the motorway.

Keep to the left hand lane

Don’t hog the middle or outside lane, these are only there for overtaking slower traffic. Unless overtaking slower traffic you should always drive in the left hand lane and move back into this lane when possible.

Only a fool would break the two-second rule

What is the two-second rule we hear you ask? Two-seconds are the minimum distance that you should leave between yourself and the car in front of you. In wet conditions, this gap should be 4 seconds or more. Use a fixed point like a lamppost at the side of the road to measure the gap between you and the car in front. With time and experience, you’ll be able to judge this distance naturally be a sight.

Keep using your mirrors

There are a lot of cars on the motorway and keeping an eye on your mirrors helps you to stay aware of what’s going on around you and the other vehicles. When moving out to overtake make sure that you check your mirrors as well as having a quick look over your shoulder to check your blind spot.

Take a break

One of the most common reasons for using the motorway network is when you want to make longer journeys. Tiredness slows down your reactions, one of the ways that you can stave off boredom and tiredness is by taking regular breaks. Make sure you take a break every two hours on longer journeys to help you stay alert while driving.