Prepare for your
Check your vehicles oil and
water, make sure you have enough fuel or are
able to purchase some before you run out.
tyres are safe and that all your lights
Check your vehicle is
Stay in the left lane, except
If there are many slower
vehicles in the left hand lane it may be safer
to stay in the overtaking lane until all the
slower vehicles have been passed, then returning
to the left hand lane.
Obey the speed limits. For
motorway users the maximum speed limit is 70mph
if you are driving a car, motorbike, light goods
vehicle not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden
weight and buses or coaches under 12m long.
The motorway maximum speed
limit is 60mph if travelling in a car towing a
caravan or trailer, light goods vehicles
exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight or
towing a trailer, buses or coaches over 12m
long, HGVs and articulated lorries.
There may be other speed
restriction in force on motorways; usually the
signs will have yellow flashing lights. Even if
speed restrictions are not in force you should
always slow down in busy conditions, bad weather
or if there has been a
If there has been a
traffic accident pay attention to your own
journey and don't "rubber neck". Many accidents
occur due to drivers being pre-occupied with
accidents and not fully concentrating on their
Traffic on motorways generally
travels faster so it is important to look much
further ahead and use your mirrors more
regularly than you would on normal roads.
Keep a safe distance. A rough
guide in good weather conditions is the two
second rule. Watch the vehicle in front past a
marker and then count slowly to two ("one
second, two seconds"), if you are past the
marker before the count of two you are too
Do not overtake on the left or
move to a lane on your left to overtake.
In congested conditions, where
adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar
speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes
be moving faster than traffic to the right. In
these conditions you may keep up with the
traffic in your lane even if this means passing
traffic in the lane to your right.
Do not weave in and out of
lanes to overtake.
If you feel tired take a break
at the next service station, or in extreme
conditions leave the motorway network and find a
safe place to pull over and take a break.
Drive carefully at roadworks.
When passing through roadworks get in the
correct lane early and slow down, there will be
speed restrictions in place but it may not be
safe to drive that fast. Be alert for broken
down vehicles, particularly if the hard shoulder
is closed. Pay attention to the road ahead and
don't be distracted by the roadworks.
Stay in lane unless it is
unsafe to do so.
Do not enter the hard shoulder
unless it's an emergency.
If you do break down pull over
onto the hard shoulder as far away from the road
as possible to safely do so, and turn on your
hazard warning lights.
If you break down on the
motorway there will be emergency phones every
If you need to stop for any
other reason like the toilet, map reading or a
mobile phone call, wait until you arrive at a
service station, do not use the hard shoulder.
For further information why not read the
In August in a joint
Express held National Motorway Month to
encourage safer motorway driving. The
out a survey for National Motorway Month which
found a lack of basic motorway safety knowledge
amongst motorists. Here are some of its
findings: Only 19 percent of motorists were
aware of the two second rule, the safe
recommended driving distance between vehicles in
good driving conditions. 58 percent of motorists
thought the gap should be six seconds. Amongst
the over 65s only 28 percent have looked at
their Highway Code since passing their driving
test. 86 percent of motorists agreed that
compulsory post-test driving training on
motorways would be a good idea.
Approximately 17 percent of
drivers take a Pass Plus course once they have
passed their driving test; this includes a
motorway driving session. New drivers who have
undertaken this Pass Plus course can get
insurance discount with some insurers. For
travel information on the UK's roads visit the
highways traffic pages.
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