From June 4, the law changed to allow learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales onto motorways for the first time, but under strict conditions – they must be with an approved driving instructor using a dual controlled car displaying L plates.
Any motorways lessons will be voluntary, and it will be up to the instructor to decide when the learner is ready to drive on a motorway.
In the past, a learner drivers’ first experience of driving at higher speeds had been limited to using dual carriageways, and only when they had passed their driving test could they get their first taste of driving on a motorway. For some newly passed and inexperienced drivers, this could prove to be a daunting and often frightening experience. The law change will allow learner drivers to:
- get broader driving experience before taking their driving test,
- get training on how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly,
- Practice driving at higher speeds and,
- put their theoretical knowledge into practice.
Highways England, the body responsible for the country’s motorways and main A roads, has worked with the Department for Transport, DVSA, DVLA, the Driving Instructors Association, Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council, Motor Schools Association of Great Britain and Trak Global in setting up Driving Hub featuring a series of free instructional learning modules to help drivers and instructors prepare for the law change.
It is not aimed solely at learners, but can improve the driving skills of all road users through a range of tutorials covering everything from safety checks to driving on high speed roads, reading the road, being a considerate driver and managing incidents and breakdowns, as well as a dedicated section for learner drivers.
Highways England Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, said: ‘To help instructors and learners we have worked with our partners to set up these really valuable free resources and I’d urge people to log on and take a look. It will help everyone, not just learner drivers, be safer on our roads.’
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “IAM RoadSmart strongly welcomes this common-sense change to the law on motorway driving. It has never made sense to us that new drivers on our most important roads learned how to use them by trial and potentially fatal error. The government’s insistence on the use of approved instructors and dual-controlled cars is a welcome safeguard that will ensure consistent levels of training and a proper phased introduction to motorway driving skills.”