Advice for New Drivers

When you’ve just passed your test, the thought of driving on the motorway can be quite scary. But motorways, if used correctly, can be the safest roads in the country.

Some tips for motorway driving:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Make sure you know which junction you need to take.
  • Obey the speed limits (including lower limits due to congestion, weather or road works).
  • Use your fog lights only where there is poor visibility. Remember to switch them off when visibility improves.
  • Leave a gap between you and the vehicle in front of at least 3 seconds, 4 in bad weather.
  • Keep to the left lane; the other lanes are for overtaking. Remember, there are no ‘slow lanes’ on a motorway.
  • Never drive for more than two hours; you must take a break of at least 15 minutes to keep yourself fit for the journey.
  • Tiredness can kill, and greatly increases your risk of crashing so take a break if you need one.
  • Only use the hard shoulder in the event of an emergency.

What to do if you break down on the motorway:

  1. If your car breaks down, move onto the hard shoulder and turn on your hazard warning lights.
  2. Get out from the vehicle using the doors nearest to the verge and keep well away from the traffic. Lock all doors except the passenger door nearest to you.
  3. Call for assistance by using the emergency phones, which are placed on the hard shoulder. Marker posts indicating the direction of the nearest emergency telephone are situated every 100 metres on the hard shoulder. Phones are 1,000 metres apart.
  4. Never cross the carriageway or a slip road to use an emergency telephone.
  5. After you return to your vehicle, wait on the grass verge or nearby bank well away from the traffic until the emergency services arrive.