Highways England is geared up to support a law change from 4 June 2018 that means learner drivers can take motorway driving lessons to help improve road safety.
Any motorway lessons learner drivers take are voluntary, but they must be with an approved driving instructor in a car with dual-controls displaying L plates. However, motorway driving is not being added to the driving test as part of this change.
Driving instructors will only take learner drivers on the motorway when they have the right skills and experience to drive in a high-speed environment.
Highways England has recorded film footage about the law change to allow learner drivers to gain experience on motorway driving.
Highways England has also supported the creation of a website, The Driving Hub, which features a series of free instructional learning modules to help instructors prepare learners for motorway driving. There is also lots of driving and safety advice for all road users.
Highways England Executive Director for Safety, Engineering and Standards, Mike Wilson said:
“This change in the law will develop a smarter generation of road users because, for the first time, approved driving instructors will be able to teach their students the skills associated with using motorways safely in a practical situation. That will ultimately help all motorway drivers.
“We look forward to supporting learner drivers as they develop these new skills and get invaluable practical knowledge and experience of using motorways.”
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) emphasises that motorway lessons will give learner drivers the confidence, skills and experience they need to use motorways safely. During lessons, learner drivers will get training on:
- how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly
- using smart motorways correctly
- driving at high speed in motorway conditions
- motorway-specific traffic signs
- what to do if a vehicle breaks down on a motorway
DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Mark Winn, said:
“DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.
“Allowing learner drivers to have motorway lessons was supported by 80% of people who gave their feedback on this change, with the public recognising the importance of developing these skills in a controlled environment.
“I’m delighted that a new generation of drivers can now drive on the motorway to gain valuable experience, including overtaking safely and lane discipline.”
DVSA is also reminding all drivers about the basic rules for motorway driving. As with any vehicle on the motorway, motorists should keep a safe distance from a learner driver in front.
On the motorway, motorists should also drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If overtaking slower-moving vehicles, drivers should return to the left-hand lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
When overtaking, the lane should be sufficiently clear ahead and behind. Do not cut in on the vehicle once overtaken when you move back over.
Since 2013, the police have had the power to issue fixed penalty notices for careless motorway driving, such as tailgating and middle-lane hogging. The fixed penalty is £100 with 3 points on the driver’s licence.