Learner drivers on motorways - everything you need to know

Learner drivers on motorways - everything you need to know
Though it might seem like a daunting prospect if you’re learning to drive you can have lessons on Britain’s motorways. The law was changed in June 2018 to allow this.

Read our guide to make sure that you're fully prepared for learning how to drive on these vital roads.

Can any learner drive on a motorway?

Learner drivers wishing to practice on motorways will have to be accompanied by an approved instructor in a dual-control car fitted with L-plates. Their instructor will also have to be satisfied that the learner is competent enough to have lessons on motorways.

Do all learners have to drive on motorways?

Motorway lessons aren’t compulsory, but it’s hoped that giving learners exposure to motorways will give them a better understanding of how to drive safely at high speed. Learner drivers will also gain important motorway awareness skills when they pass their theory test

Can learner motorcyclists have lessons on the motorway?

No, the change in the law doesn’t apply to learner motorcyclists.

What was the law previously?

Before the law was changed in June 2018, motorists were only allowed to drive on motorways after they’d passed their test.

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Why was the law changed?

Many new drivers say they feel nervous when venturing onto a motorway for the first time – and some avoid the 70mph roads altogether.

According to one survey, one in 12 licence holders stay off motorways for at least six months after passing their driving test.

And statistics show that motorists are most at risk of having accidents during those first few months of having a licence.

The rule change is all about helping to familiarise learners with the demands of motorway driving – and about boosting safety in the process.

What’s the RAC’s response to the change?

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “We welcome the news that learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on the motorway under the supervision of an approved driving instructor in a dual-controlled car, something that motorists we surveyed were overwhelmingly supportive of.

“While motorways are statistically our safest roads, it can be daunting using them for the first time after passing the driving test. Giving learners the option to gain valuable experience on our fastest and busiest roads should further improve safety and enhance the confidence of new drivers.”

How should you enter a motorway from a slip road?

You should use the slip road to accelerate until your speed matches that of the traffic on the motorway, but do not exceed the speed limit. Following this, you will need to check that there's a suitable gap for you to merge into. Finally,  'Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre'  and join the motorway.

What’s the advice to experienced drivers on motorways?

The Government’s advice to other motorists is: “Always be patient with learners as they may not be so skilful at anticipating and responding to events.”

It’s also recommended that drivers keep a safe distance from learners in front of them and increase the gap on wet or icy roads, or in fog.

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