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Learner drivers to join the motorway

 

Last year the Department for Transport announced their plans to allow learner drivers on the motorway and believe it or not - that time has now come.

From Monday 4th June 2018, learners (of cars) will be able to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales. (Learner motorcyclists won't be allowed.)

The driving test will be staying the same and there are no plans to introduce motorway driving as part of the test.

We wanted to make sure you guys know about it so if you do see a learner passing alongside you, you don't panic that they've taken a pretty big wrong turn.

How's it going to work?

It will be up to the driving instructor whether they take their student on the motorway, so if you're learning now, don't worry - you're not going to be expected to tackle big roads on your first lesson. The instructor will make sure you're confident and have had enough practice on normal roads first.

It goes without saying that the learner must be:

  • Accompanied by an approved instructor
  • Driving a car with dual controls

Preparation for after the test

Just like the recent driving test update these changes are being put in place to help drivers be more prepared for real-life driving after passing.

Currently, drivers will only ever face the motorway after getting their full licence, which usually means relying on a parent or sibling to show them the ropes - in a car with one set of pedals. Not ideal.

What learners will get out of it:

  • More driving experience before test day
  • Training on how to join and leave the motorway safely
  • Training on overtaking and correct lane use
  • Practise driving at higher speeds
  • Understanding of motorway traffic signs
  • Preparation for what to do in a breakdown
  • Improved confidence for driving unsupervised after the test

Sharing the road with learners

Remember how you felt facing a motorway for the first time once you'd passed? Now imagine doing that on a normal lesson without a licence yet. Pretty scary.

If you see a learner driving in front on you, be patient and increase the gap - especially in foggy, wet or icy conditions. It's likely they'll be making mistakes and not reacting to the road as quickly as a qualified driver, so try to anticipate that and give them space.

And if that learner is you - good luck for your first motorway lesson! Here's some tips that your instructor will go through with you. It's really not as bad as you might think.

Important: until the law changes on the 4th June 2018 it's still illegal for a learner to drive on the motorway.

Katey Gregory

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.