Motorway driving can be daunting, especially for first-time drivers or those who don’t regularly drive long distances. More than a third of drivers rarely, if ever, drive on a motorway, meaning many people aren’t familiar with or clued up when it comes to motorway driving. Though your daily commute may just mean a local 20-minute drive, there might come a time when the motorway is required or you even end up on one by accident. When this time comes, it’s crucial to know the motorway rules so you can get to your location safely, avoid any issues and feel comfortable doing so.

For more on long-distance driving, have a read through our blog here.

Safety on the motorway

Due to the speed limit set on motorways and how busy they tend to be, small mistakes can have serious consequences. Driving at a high speed means you have less time to react and might be overwhelmed by all the changes around you but once you’ve learnt all the essentials, driving on the motorway is simple. With safety being the topmost important factor of driving, here are some essential safety tips when driving on the motorway.

  • Follow the two-second rule by giving yourself enough time and space to react
  • Be aware of stopping distances in different weather conditions, especially snow
  • Follow the four-second rule if the road is slippery or visibility is poor
  • Control your speed and look out for variable speed limits
  • Indicate in good time before switching lanes
  • Check your mirrors often
  • Take extra care around trucks and other large vehicles
  • Anticipate what’s coming next and what’s in front of you
  • Take regular breaks if you are driving a long distance
  • Do a road trip checklist before setting off
  • Tips for driving on the motorway

Whether it’s your first time on the motorway or you’re looking to update your road knowledge, knowing these simple tips for driving can keep you and others safe, make for a smoother driving experience, avoid any crimes being committed and prepare you for any longer journeys in the future. Here are some of our top tips for driving on the motorway.

roadtrip by Filter Services

Prepare your car

One of the main concerns people have when driving on the motorway is car breakdowns or issues with the vehicle itself. As the car will be driving at higher speeds, the driving experience is bound to feel different but occasionally, there could be more serious going on. That’s why doing a proper car check before setting off is a good idea, especially when driving a long distance. These checks might include things such as checking tyre pressure, filling up your gas, and checking washer fluid, wipers, brake fluid, battery health and indicator lights.

The two-second rule

When it comes to driving on a motorway, taking into consideration maximum speed limits for cars and motorcycles is one of the main priorities. In the UK, the speed limit is 70mph. For vehicles towing a caravan or trailer, HGVs, goods vehicles, and buses or coaches over 12 metres in length, the limit is 60 mph. But no matter what speed someone is doing, always adhere to the two-second rule. Two seconds is the minimum amount of time there should be between you and the vehicle in front. In wet or poor weather, four seconds is the minimum recommended time separation as it could be slipper or vision could be limited.

Sticking to the left lane

There is no such thing as the fast lane on a motorway and drivers should always travel in the left-hand lane unless overtaking slower traffic. When overtaking, lanes two, three and four can be used but you must then join to the left once again. This avoids clogging lanes and potentially causing an issue with another driver who wants to overtake you.

Regular use of mirrors

Due to the number of cars on the motorway and how fast everyone is driving, it’s crucial to constantly check mirrors. This includes your wing mirrors, front mirror and blind spots. Especially important when changing lanes, your mirrors should be checked constantly as you need to know what’s going on in front of you, next to you and behind you.

Learning signs and signals

Knowing what road signs mean is a huge part of driving in general, but on the motorway, these signs can help you understand where you’re going and save any issues or hazards from happening. The Highway Code section on the government website is a valuable source of information and includes lots of tips for new drivers on motorways. The website explains different motorway signals, how they’re used and any laws associated with motorway driving.

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