Whether you’re starting your first year at university or heading back for the final time, travelling there can be an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you’re excited at the thought of seeing friends and getting your independence back, then you’re full of nerves and finding it hard to part with those at home.
So worrying about your motorway journey is the last thing you need. That’s why we have put together a set of tips for newbie drivers.
1. Become familiar with the layout of a motorway – is there a verge or hard shoulder (used for emergencies only)? Are there three or more lanes?
2. Be observant. Look out for signs of merging traffic or warnings about approaching junctions. If you can see vehicles approaching the motorway, is there space for you to move into lane two to accommodate their needs?
3. As you approach the motorway, evaluate the traffic so you give yourself time and space to smoothly merge in with the traffic already on the motorway
4. What’s your following distance? Remember, on a dry road surface, the distance should be at least two seconds and at least four seconds on a wet road surface. This applies for every drive you make, not just on motorways
5. Be mindful that there are no ‘slow’, ‘middle’ or ‘fast’ lanes. Lane one is the travelling lane, all others are overtaking lanes. You should return to lane one when it is safe to do so
5. Remember to check blind spots as well as your mirrors when changing lanes, as some vehicles may not be visible through your mirrors
7. Take into consideration that at 70pmh, you travel at 31 metres every second. This means your following gap disappears very quickly if the traffic in front brakes, look well ahead and respond to changing information early
8. Use your lights. Flashing your headlights is permitted only to let another user know of your presence. It’s also important to use your dipped headlights when driving on a wet motorway with surface spray. You can also use your hazard warning lights to make other road users behind you aware of an impending problem ahead of you
9. Be considerate. Drive at the appropriate speed and position, and be courteous and considerate towards others and acknowledge those who extend those same courtesies to you
10. Keep your knowledge up-to-date and keep your vehicle in good order. To help you boost your driving knowledge of motorway driving, IAM RoadSmart is offering you a free Motorway Driving e-learning module which can be accessed here. Remember to use the discount code BACK2UNI to redeem this offer!