MOTORWAYS – New Drivers, Be Prepared

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“Thank you so much – I couldn’t have done it without you!”

“I’ll definitely be in touch about a motorway lesson.”


MOTORWAYS – New Drivers, Be Prepared


I must have heard these two comments hundreds of times during my Instructing career – especially the first comment.

Unfortunately, no matter how well intentioned the second comment may be, very few follow up with a telephone call or text, to discuss motorway lessons.


I do two sessions- each of two hours duration, involving the new driver in:


Motorway skills: It’s a rude awakening to face the motorway unprepared, especially as you join the 70mph+ club where everything seems a heck of a lot quicker.


Defensive Driving: Learning how to look and plan further ahead and to anticipate the actions of other road-users. You’re almost thinking on their behalf!


Eco-Driving: Here we look at various driving techniques and vehicle maintenance measures, to help the new driver reduce their financial outgoings.


Alternatively, the short-form session involves a two hour motorway skills introduction.


Regrettably, so many new drivers choose to take the easy option and go on the motorway with a parent or family member.


Are they suitably equipped or qualified to provide that first high speed experience?


Many tell me that it’s quite ok because they did their first motorway session with dad on a quiet Sunday morning.


Their rude awakening comes during their first morning or afternoon rush-hour trip or even on that first attempt at Bank Holiday Travel.


I’m sure the family member will take great care of their new driver too! – But, more like because it’s their own offspring behind the wheel, rather than making sound decisions based on knowledge and experience.


The following report from “Autocar” makes my point:


A generation of younger British drivers is incapable of driving on motorways due to a fear of multi-lane roads and a lack of skill, according to a new survey.


As many as one in five drivers who have passed their test in the past five years say they lack the skill necessary to tackle motorways. This finding comes as driving instructors encounter an increasing number of people terrified of Britain’s motorway network.


Just 44 per cent of female drivers and those aged 18-24 said they were confident of driving on motorways. This leaves a majority of female and younger drivers who either avoid motorways altogether or don’t feel confident when they drive on them.


Research carried out last year by the AA suggested that, in their first year of driving, 40 per cent of women avoid motorways — a figure that falls to 28 per cent by the third year. By contrast, 65 per cent of drivers aged 55-64 and 70 per cent of male drivers said they were confident enough to drive on motorways.


Overall, one in seven motorists in the UK say they lack the skills for motorway driving — equivalent to five million drivers. Driving too slowly, failing to observe safe following distances and failing to merge safely when joining the motorway are the problems most commonly seen by  Instructors.


The survey results come as Autocar and professional instructors are calling for motorway driving to be included in the driving test. Currently, learner drivers are not allowed on motorways and are not tested on the practical skills needed for motorway driving.”


“Drivers aged between 17 and 24 are involved in more than a quarter of motorway accidents involving death or injury, so it’s time the driving test played its part in tackling this issue,” said Autocar news editor Dan Stevens.


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