We’ve all been there: sitting on the motorway silently (or loudly!) urging the car in front to get into the slow lane as they amble down the middle (or even worse, the fast lane) at 50 mph. As summer arrives and with bank holidays on the horizon, the roads promise to be as busy and chaotic as ever, with a few extra tourists and caravans thrown in for good measure!
This series looks at the dos and don’ts of motorway driving, and your tips to surviving the hordes of traffic. This week we kick off with the basics for beginners or those with little or no experience of motorway driving.
1. Build Confidence
Ironically, the more nervous you are, the more likely you will be to cause an accident. You can help to relieve those nerves by preparing yourself for motorway driving. Make sure that you know the law and read this guide to boost your confidence.
2. Check Your Vehicle
For many people, the biggest barrier to driving on motorways is the fear of breaking down and having to move across three lanes to get to safety. You can reduce this by making sure that your car is ready for a longer journey at higher speeds. Check tyre pressure and tread, check and top up oil, brake fluid and coolant. If in doubt, pop to your local garage; a mechanic will be happy to give your vehicle a quick once-over to make sure that it is safe for motorway driving. In the event that you are unlucky and do break down, make sure that you have adequate cover, and that your roadside assistance contact details are in your phone and stored safely somewhere in your vehicle for good measure.
3. Getting On The Road
If you are a nervous or inexperienced driver, getting on the motorway can be one of the biggest challenges. Slip roads aren’t like junctions, where you stop and join the road when there is a big enough gap: you need to maintain a good speed so that you match the speed of other vehicles in the left-hand lane when you enter the motorway. Keep moving, slowing down only enough to wait for a suitable gap before merging into the traffic flow. If you are still nervous, don’t feel under pressure to head to the middle lane; keep a steady pace in the left hand lane until you build confidence.
Like anything, you will build in confidence and competence the more you drive on motorways. Before you know it, you will be zipping up and down the motorway without giving it a second thought! If you don’t feel that that day will ever come, get in touch with a local driving instructor, who will be able to offer you a short course in motorway driving. Next week we look at the rules you need to abide by while driving on a motorway and top tips for driving efficiently and safely (without annoying other road users). Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to avoid missing out.