Many drivers are nervous when it comes to motorways so please don’t think it’s just you.
Depending on your confidence level we recommend you refresh your motoring knowledge, consider a driver refresher course and get more motorway driving experience during off peak times.
Either way, you’ll be making a good start by reading The Highway Code’s section on Motorways, including rules 253 to 273.
If your motorway driving fear is more serious than that, I recommend you join FOXY Lady Drivers Club so we can advise you on a 1:1 basis and introduce you to specialist stress-related counsellors in this area.
Motorway Driving Tips
The following advice comes from IAM Roadsmart and will no doubt help you gain confidence through knowledge.
- Become familiar with the look and layout of a motorway.
- 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 allow them to join the motorway in lane one?
- When it’s your turn to join a motorway, evaluate the traffic ahead, alongside and behind so you give yourself time and space to smoothly merge in with the traffic already on the motorway.
- Do you know what your distance should be on a motorway ie the space between your car and others? Remember the distance should be at least two seconds on dry roads and at least four seconds on a wet road surface. This applies for every drive of course, not just on motorways.
- Be mindful that there are no ‘slow’, ‘middle’ or ‘fast’ lanes. Lane one is the travelling lane, all others are overtaking lanes. You should always return to lane one when it is safe to do so.
- Mirror attention is vital to know where other traffic is. Fast cars appear quickly and you need to be constantly aware of these. Remember to check blind spots as well as your mirrors when changing lanes, as some vehicles may not be visible through your mirrors at the time.
- Take into consideration that at 70 mph, you are travelling at 31 metres every second. This means the gap between you and the car in front disappears very quickly when traffic in front of you applies their brakes. It’s important to look as far ahead as you can to anticipate and respond to this, and any changing circumstances, as early as possible.
- Use your lights when you need to let another vehicle driver know of your presence. It’s also important to use dipped headlights when driving on a wet motorway with surface spray. You can also use hazard warning lights to make other road users behind you aware of an impending problem ahead.
- Be considerate. Drive at the appropriate speed and position. Be courteous and considerate towards others and acknowledge those who extend those same courtesies to you.
- If someone is driving faster than you, make sure they can pass you. Never sit in lane two when lane one is empty or undertake a car sitting in lane two by driving past them in lane one.
- Keep your driving knowledge up-to-date.
- Keep your vehicle well serviced and maintained at all times.
To help you boost your driving knowledge of motorway driving we recommend IAM RoadSmart Motorway Driving e-learning modules.
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards says: “Motorways are statistically the safest roads in the UK but we still need to concentrate. A moment’s distraction can see us travel a considerable distance.”
“A well-planned drive will allow acceleration sense to be used to match the speed of the traffic, brake lights shown inappropriately will cause the traffic to slow and may cause issues – if you are using cruise control, cancel it using the button and not by tapping the brake. Finally, use your brake lights to communicate to the traffic behind.”
“Concentrating can be tiring so remember to take a break at least every two hours.”