[]   Your account

A guide to driving on the motorway for the first time

A guide to driving on the motorway for the first time

Driving on the motorway for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. Here’s how to do it safely. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 15 JANUARY 2020

How to be a more confident driver

If you’re new to driving, you might find motorway driving intimidating. You’re not alone. According to the AA, more than a third of drivers avoid using Britain’s motorways.

But, according to Department for Transport figures, motorways are some of the safest roads around, with 11 times fewer fatalities than country roads.

How to drive safely

Here are a few ways to drive safer on the road:

  •  Know the speed limits and stick to them
  • Practice. The more time you spend on the roads, the more confident you’ll feel
  • Turn off your phone. Don’t let yourself be distracted by ringing and message alerts
  • Take lots of breaks. Tiredness is said to cause as many as 3,000 accidents a year in the UK. A 10-minute coffee break will make you feel refreshed
  • Never drink and drive. This should go without saying, but a reminder never hurts.

The rules of motorway driving

  • Stay on the inside lane unless you’re overtaking
  • Remember your stopping distances – give yourself ample time to react
  • Allow a two-second gap between you and the car in front
  •  If the roads are wet or icy, make it a four-second gap between you and the car ahead
  • Stick to the speed limit
  •  Keep checking your mirrors
  • Take a break every two hours so you don’t get tired.

How to drive on a smart motorway

You may not know the term ‘smart motorway’, but chances are you’ve been on one. On smart motorways, a control centre manages the traffic using technology. So it might change the speed limit at busy times, or open the hard shoulder to cars.  

When driving on a smart motorway, there are a few rules to remember: 

  • Keep an eye out for changing speed limits and stick to them
  •  Don’t drive on the hard shoulder unless you’re told to. A solid white line will tell you it’s the hard shoulder. If it’s a driving lane, you’ll see a broken white line

  • A red ‘X’ means the lane is closed, so don’t drive in it.

Looking for a quote?

Compare car insurance in minutes to see if you can save

Get a quote
Compare car insurance Get a quote

comparethemarket.com uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacy & cookie policy.