Learner drivers to take to the motorways
Last week the Department for Transport announced plans to allow learner drivers on motorways for the FIRST TIME EVER. This was big news and because a lot of our ingenie club are new drivers (or still learning), we thought you lot would be the best people to ask for an opinion.
I think it's safe to say that things got HEATED.
What UK drivers thought
After reading about the changes, we did a Twitter poll and the results were pretty split:
Do you think the recent government plans for learner drivers to be allowed on motorways is a good idea?— ingenie (@ingenie) January 4, 2017
We also shared the news with you guys on Facebook and here's how it went down:
"Stupid idea it's bad enough on the roads but on a fast moving motorway it's ridiculous dual controls or not. I've seen some shocking and dangerous moves from learners which instructors should have taken control of but they don't."
"It's an excellent idea... if you actually read the article it says that they will only be allowed to go on the motorway with an approved instructor in a dual control car."
"It's a good idea. Some people cannot afford to pay the £100+ for Pass Plus after they've passed their test, so why shouldn't they be taught to drive on a motorway as part of their test? Better than getting on the motorway not knowing anything and panicking. Also if you look at reports/statistics it's a hell of a lot more dangerous driving in a built up area than it is motorway."
"As a driver I do not think it's a good idea. Motorways are dangerous, high speed areas and definitely not suitable for learners."
"Should be a 3 part test: theory, practical and motorway and each stage should be passed before you can proceed to the next one!"
"Like there's not enough accidents on motorways as it is without the added 'mistakes' from learners. Don't get me wrong, we all have to start somewhere but jeez, bad call."
"Ever considered maybe there's a lot of accidents on the motorways because nobody is taught motorway driving?"
The common theme here is safety
Those who disagreed with the plans think the motorway environment is TOO dangerous for learner drivers who will inevitably make mistakes. Those who agree with the plans feel that learners need to be allowed on the motorways so it's LESS dangerous when they've passed their test.
Although both sides are valid, it's worth noting that the learner would only be allowed on the motorway once the instructor felt they were confident enough. So, just like your instructor wouldn't ask you to do a parallel park on a busy road on your first lesson, they wouldn't take you onto the M25 on week 1 either.
Not forgetting that the instructor will have an extra set of very useful peddles under their feet, just in case you got yourself into a sticky situation - a safety net that simply isn't there after you've passed.
Is it too soon?
You could argue that it's the learner's decision to decide when they're ready to go on a motorway, and making it a compulsory part of the test only adds to the fear around 'big roads'. Then again, if you're someone like me, you'll avoid it until you have to face it. Which clearly isn't ideal either.
But all panic and debate aside, learning to drive is supposed to be about preparing someone to drive safely alone. If this education isn't a complete picture, how can a new driver be expected to be safe and confident in every situation?
Now, the REAL challenge is how you're going to exit a busy motorway and get back home within a 1 hour lesson. #justsaying
Still building up to it?
Here's our guide to motorway driving.
By Katey Gregory
Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.