Can learner drivers go on the motorway?

Learner drivers have been able to drive on the motorway since June 2018, should your driving instructor think you are able to do so.

The changes that were implanted allow learners to gain experience and confidence whilst driving on the motorway, granted the driving instructor thinks they’re competent to do so.

For learner drivers to go on the motorway they must be driving in a car that is fitted with dual controls, and they must be accompanied by an approved driving instructor.

There are no current plans to have motorway driving incorporated into the driving exam.

The government initiated this change to give learner drivers the ability to safely gain experience to drive on the motorways in a bid to help both current and new drivers on the road.

It’s important to note however, that the change to learner drivers on the motorway only applies to those who are learning to drive in a car, and learner motorcyclists are still not allowed to drive on the motorway. Also, trainee driving instructors can’t take learner drivers on the motorway.

Why learner drivers can go on the motorway

Since June 2018 new rules were introduced to allow learner drivers to go on the motorway with their driving instructor. There were a number of reasons why this change was introduced:

  • Give learner drivers a broader driving experience before they take their test
  • Gain experience in leaving and joining the motorway, how to overtake and use the lanes in the correct manner
  • Practise driving at an increased speed
  • Gain a better understanding of the signs that are specific to motorway driving
  • Give an understanding of what needs to be done if a vehicle breaks down on a motorway
  • Boost confidence for new drivers on the motorway so they feel confident when driving unsupervised after they pass their test

Rules for learner drivers on the motorway

The main rules that learner drivers must abide by whilst driving on the motorway is that they drive in a car with dual controls and they must be accompanied by a driving instructor.

They must stick to the rules of the road and abide by the speed limit of the motorway, unless there are other signs in place. It’s important that learner drivers learn how to stick with the flow of traffic whilst driving on the motorway to ensure they keep moving and everyone on the road is the safest they can possibly be.

Also, don’t drive too slowly. If you are driving too slowly and it could cause a potential accident you can be pulled over on the motorway by traffic police. When you drive too slowly on the motorway it can have a big impact on the flow of traffic, as well as causing other drivers to use their brakes quickly which could result in an accident. It’s important to stick to the speed limit, as well as matching the other traffic on the motorway, particularly when joining the motorway in the left-hand lane.

Motorway driving differences to know

Driving on the motorway can be different to driving on A-roads or dual carriageways, it’s important to be aware of these differences to ensure that you can drive safely on whatever road you are taking to.

  • Cyclists and pedestrians must not go on motorways.
  • There are some slow-moving vehicles that are forbidden from going onto motorways.
  • You will find hard shoulders on motorways, however there may be some sections of motorways that don’t have hard shoulders, but these will be signposted clearly.
  • The right-hand lane is to be used for overtaking on a motorway.
  • The signs on a motorway are blue.
  • Typically the speed limit for the motorway is 70mph, however, this can be changed due to traffic flow or roadworks being carried out. There will be plenty of signs to indicate this.
  • Motorway exits are called junctions, and they will be labelled this on the signs.