Why are learners on the motorway now?

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As you no doubt will be aware, a week ago new rules were introduced which allow learners drivers to practice on the motorway in England, Scotland, and Wales. We feel it is important to give our view on this subject from the perspective of our industry, as the vast majority of our website readers are involved in the transport and logistics sector. In this article, we will explain the new rules, why they were introduced, and how having learners on the motorway benefits everyone.

The new rules

Motorway lessons and training will be voluntary, as many driving test centres are based in areas without easy access to a motorway. All Category B (car) training on motorways must be conducted by an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), in a suitable vehicle (dual controls and L-plates). ADIs must ensure that they only take learner drivers on the motorway when a suitable level of competence has been demonstrated to ensure safety. Learner drivers have always been able to practice on dual carriageways, and motorway training will simply become part of the training journey.

Motorway lessons

Below is a list of some of the topics that can be covered in a motorway driving lesson.

  • ‣ Driving at high speed safely
  • ‣ Using different motorway types (controlled, dynamic hard shoulder running etc, where available)
  • ‣ How to safely join and exit the motorway
  • ‣ Overtaking and correct lane use
  • ‣ Breakdowns
  • ‣ Motorway road signage
  • ‣ How to behave around large and heavy vehicles

The benefits for learners

Practicing on a motorway allows a new driver to develop a wider range of skills before taking their test, helps them build more confidence behind the wheel, and ensures that they are safe in preparation for when they start driving unaccompanied. Many new drivers stick to alternative routes due to ‘motorway fear’. This, in turn, leads to more journeys being taken on more dangerous roads – 80% of young driver fatalities occur on rural roads.

The benefits for other road users

Educating the next generation of drivers to use motorways correctly will help reduce common issues that we all see, for example:

  • ‣ Middle lane hogging
  • ‣ Tailgating
  • ‣ Unsafe overtaking and pulling in
  • ‣ Blindspot driving

We feel that not only are the new rules a great idea for learners but that everyone will benefit in the long term. Until now, most new drivers have always made their first trip onto the motorway without guidance. We definitely feel that having an experienced ADI on board for that first motorway journey will go along way to improving road safety for learners, and motorway users in general.

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