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Top Tips for Motorway Driving

Statistically motorways in the UK are much safer than other types of roads. Motorways do actually create their own unique challenges which we discuss with some safe driving tips in this article.

Rural and Urban Motorways

There is no such thing as a standard motorway section; the driving challenge will vary according to the motorway section you use.

The challenge of rural motorways is the monotony; they feature fast moving lower levels of traffic where keeping attentive when you feel bored is the recipe for success.

Urban motorways are anything but boring, there are higher traffic levels and constant vigilance is needed, care needs to be taken for cars undertaking, lane hopping and other motorway infractions.

Lane Discipline

Lane discipline is really important on motorways in this section we discuss the hard shoulder and the three lanes of the standard UK motorway.

Hard shoulder

The hard shoulder is to the left of the left hand lane and should normally only be used for emergency stops (e.g. vehicle breakdown or other emergency situation).

There may be occasions where signs indicate the hard shoulder can be used, e.g. following an accident or to keep traffic moving in rush hour conditions.

Left hand lane

The left hand lane is the usual lane for driving as its left hand side of the road driving in the UK! The left hand lane is ideal for speed restricted or slow moving vehicles and MUST NOT be used for undertaking from the middle/right lanes.

Middle lane

The middle lane is used by many drivers as a normal riving lane but really it’s an overtaking lane. The left hand lane is for the lane to use for normal driving. When overtaking drivers should use the middle or right hand lane and then return to the left hand lane as soon as it is safe to do so.

Right hand lane

The right hand lane in normal use is only for overtaking of vehicles in the left and middle lanes. In the case of accidents signs may indicate to use the right hand lane.

Joining a Motorway

Typically cars approach the motorway from the left through an acceleration lane and by the time of joining the motorway will be at a similar speed. Always practice care when joining a motorway, use mirrors and signals, be patient and wait for a gap. Most left hand lane drivers will either move to middle lane or slow down to allow you a gap to enter the motorway.

Leaving a Motorway

At the one mile sign from your exit of choice prepare to leave the motorway. Ensure you are in the left hand lane by about half a mile out and prepare to decelerate from about 300 yards. Drivers should be slowing down a little on the motorway but the main area for deceleration is the deceleration lane directly off the motorway. Always try to avoid unnecessary slowing down as this will affect vehicles behind as you exit the motorway, this can cause unnecessary braking especially with large lorries.

In the Event of a Motorway Breakdown

It’s not always possible but if you do have the misfortune of a breakdown try to stop as close to an emergency phone as possible. This will save you having to walk to a phone. Ensure the hazard lights are left on your vehicle; this is the very circumstance they were created for!

Motorway breakdowns are very hazardous, so it’s essential to leave the car and stand a reasonable distance away from the motorway; this is because stationary vehicles in the hard shoulder can accidentally get hit by moving traffic.

General Motorway Driving Safety Tips

As with any driving general safety rules apply, these can especially be the case with motorway travel due to the speed that traffic is flowing at.

NEVER be tempted to reprogram a Satnav whilst driving, if you have a passenger next to you let them do it, or stop at the next services and reprogram there (don’t use the hard shoulder).

It’s illegal to use a mobile phone with very good reason, it’s especially sensible not to use a mobile on the motorway due to the high speeds and careful attention that is required. It’s highly advisable to switch your mobile phone off when travelling longer distances.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our top tips for motorway driving, follow the above and your common sense and you will be well on the way to a safe motorway driving experience.