Ready for learner drivers on the motorway?
Well, you better GET ready - because you'll be seeing them from next year.
Why do learners need motorway experience?
For a lot of new drivers, tackling a motorway for the first time (or second, third, fourth, fifth...) is quite scary. I actually went out with my driving instructor after I passed so I could try it in my own car but with help.
Getting onto the motorway and managing lanes are the only real things a new driver needs to get to grips with - everything else is awareness and confidence. But fear can make you do silly things, so this change will hopefully make everyone safer.
Most driving instructors currently teach these skills on dual carriageways because the speed limit is the same, so the experience on a real motorway is largely about helping a learner grow their confidence that they can handle it alone.
Is it safe for learners to drive on the motorway?
Motorways are actually safer than smaller roads. The speed limit is high, sure, but everyone's travelling in the same direction, there are fewer hazards to negotiate and the roads are pretty straight.
Learners won't be allowed to go on the motorway with any supervising driver; they have to be accompanied by an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI - so no trainee instructors allowed) with dual controls.
Is the driving test changing?
Nope, not yet. Driving instructors will be allowed to take their learners on the motorway for experience (they don't actually HAVE to) but motorway driving won't be included in the driving test yet.
The driving test is getting an update in December 2017 but the changes involve the kinds of manouevres learners have to know.