It's something that has baffled so many for so long: learner drivers not being allowed to drive on the motorway before passing their test, so that they're left to tackle it all on their own once passing their driving test. Seems silly, right? Never fear – that's all about to change. Vanarama's Laura Day reveals why.
Yes, you heard me right – learner drivers are now allowed to roam the motorways. But, there is a catch…
What's the score?
Learner drivers are only allowed to drive on the motorway if they are in a dual-control car with an approved driving instructor. The government believes that the move will help learners gain experience to drive safely.
Jesse Norman, Road Safety Minister, said: "Britain's roads are among the safest in the world, but road collisions remain the second biggest killer of young people."
He goes on to say: "Allowing learner drivers to have motorway lessons with a qualified road safety expert will help more young drivers to gain the skills and experience they need to drive safely on motorways."
What are the benefits?
A shocking 8% of licence holders avoid motorways for at least 6 months after passing their test! It can be daunting – especially if you're a nervous driver. And, 25% said they felt scared when they eventually did drive on a motorway for the first time.
Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: "Young drivers are drastically over-represented in crashes. This change, which will help broaden the opportunities they have while learning, is very positive."
Although a motorway section is not being added to the official driving test and it's not a compulsory part of lessons – it's up to the learner and instructor to decide whether or not they would like to attempt the motorway before the test.
Top-tips for first-time motorway goers!
Keep calm and carry on!
The beauty of this new law means that while you're in the driving seat, you'll always have your driving instructor there as a fall back, should anything go wrong. The important thing is to always remain calm – motorways are similar to dual carriageways, with just a few more cars around!
Planning is key
Try to build up your speed quite quickly before joining the motorway, so that you don't interrupt the flow of traffic upon arrival.
Also, be aware that sometimes you may need to ease off the accelerator to create a big enough gap between you and the car ahead.
Pay attention to speed limits
People often don't realise that the speed limit isn't always 70mph. There are often stretches where it is 50mph and this is enforced by average speed cameras, so you do need to be eagle-eyed when tackling the motorway.
Hesitation on the motorway can be dangerous. If you hesitate while joining the motorway or changing lanes, you can put yourself or other drivers in danger. Once you've started the move, be sure to follow through confidently as other drivers will be expecting you to go.
New law, new drivers…
With learners now able to experience high-speed driving on Britain's motorways, what does this mean for other drivers on the road?
Will it be the perfect way to prepare learners or is it pure craziness to allow amateurs out on to the motorway?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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