What the current rules are for learner drivers wanting to drive on the motorway?
For you to take driving lessons on a motorway, you must be accompanied by an DVLA approved driving instructor.
The car must be fitted with dual control to allow the instructor to take over if required to do so.
These changes have been implemented to prepare new drivers for longevity and safer driving as it allows the learner to:
- Practise driving at higher speeds
- Understand motorway specific signs
- Understand what to do if a vehicle breaks down
- Get a broader driving experience before taking the test
You may be reading this and recalling back to the time you were learning to drive. If you ever learned privately with a friend or family member, you may remember that you were allowed to drive on a dual carriageway without an approved instructor. However, these rules do not apply to motorways, where the top speed limits are higher, so it is crucial that learner drivers should be supervised at all times while on motorways.
When did the rules change?
As of 4 June 2018, the law changed, allowing learner drivers to practise or take lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales. Prior to this, you could only have a “motorway lesson” after passing your driving test. This is normally with voluntary lessons like the Pass Plus scheme.
Do learner drivers have to drive on the motorway?
At the time of writing this blog, driving on a motorway is not part of the driving practical test in the UK. It has happened before, where a pupil may have taken the wrong turn on to the motorway during the test itself. It's important to remember, keep calm, you won’t get a minor or a major fault for taking the wrong turn or for not following directions. You will however, still likely to be marked whilst driving on the motorway itself. Your examiner can also intervene to help put you back on the right track.
Can you be fined for driving too slowly?
You can still get pulled over by the police for driving too slowly. It should be mentioned, there isn’t anything set in stone or a set percentage of the speed limit which would automatically mean you will get pulled over by the police. The reason for this is because, if you drive too slowly, you are risking to decrease the flow of traffic behind you and this may cause other drivers to brake harder or suddenly.
Tips for driving on the motorway
- It is important to understand the different motorway reflective studs and its meanings:
- Red – Hard shoulder division
- Amber – Central reservation division
- White - Mid-lane division
- Green – Slip road division
- Remember to keep your two second gap between you and the car Infront and double this if it’s raining.
- Remember to check your blind spots before changing lane as a car could be sitting in this spot without you realising.
- Plan ahead, know your route and ensure the car has had basic checks done before you set of.
- Only overtake if it is safe and legal, don’t overtake via the left-hand lane as this is known as undertaking and is illegal.