Driving on the Motorway

Although motorways have a far better accident record than any other of our roads, any crash that does happen tends to be more serious due to the high speeds involved. Many motorway accidents can be easily preventable by following a few simple rules:

  1. When joining the motorway, remember that you must give way if necessary to the traffic already there - do not force your way in if there is not a suitable gap.
  2. Always observe the speed limit, and adjust it when necessary to match the road conditions.
  3. Maintain your distance from other cars at all times. In dry conditions, you should allow at least a 2 second gap between your vehicle and the one in front, whilst in poor visibility or on wet, slippery roads you should increase this to at least 4 seconds.
  4. Be prepared to anticipate the unpredictable actions of other drivers. Pay extra attention when approaching intersections where traffic is joining the motorway.
  5. Pay close attention to any motorway signals; these will warn you about any dangers ahead, such as poor weather conditions, an accident, flooding, broken down vehicle or road works.
  6. Always make good use of all your mirrors and make sure that you keep checking them so that you are aware of the position of the other cars on the road. The higher volume of traffic on motorways makes frequent use of mirrors particularly important.
  7. Observe lane discipline; you should stay in the inside lane unless you are overtaking a slower vehicle. It is important to get out of the habit of thinking that the inside lane is only for slow vehicles and the middle and outside lane are for faster cars; the majority of tailbacks and accidents on motorways are caused by people hogging the middle lane - make sure that you use it for overtaking only.
  8. Never undertake or pass on the left unless you are in a queue and the traffic on your right is moving more slowly than you are.
  9. Always indicate when changing lanes and make sure that you check your mirrors and over your shoulder before changing lane.
  10. Make sure you take regular breaks at service areas; you should aim to rest for 15 minutes every 2 hours. However, if you feel yourself becoming tired, do not stop on the hard shoulder; pull off at the next junction instead.