How to be Safe on the Motorway
Motorway driving is something that can be quite daunting for motorists, especially new ones, as it is significantly different to driving on normal roads. There are a number of rules and tips that you should follow in order to make your motorway experience safer for you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. This article will look at the most helpful ways to improve your safety on the motorway.
Joining the Motorway
Coming off a slip road and joining a motorway can seem daunting, as a seemingly never ending stream of cars speed past. In order to join the motorway safely, it is important that you build up speed on the slip road – this means that you can join the motorway at the same speed the other cars are travelling at so they don’t have to slow down, which could cause an accident.
Junctions and Lane Changes
Leaving the motorway at the appropriate junction is very important, as missing one could mean adding a lot of extra time to your journey. Make sure you are aware of when your junction is coming up, and ensure that you are in the appropriate lane in plenty of time to avoid missing your junction or crossing lanes too late and risking an accident. On the side of the road, there will be three signs called countdown markers that descend from three lines to one line, with each line representing 100 yards, informing you of how close the next junction is. Use these as a guide when you need to leave the motorway.
At certain times, it will be necessary for you to overtake other road users, but extra caution must be taken. As vehicles are moving much faster than they do on normal roads, allow more time than you normally would, and check mirrors and blind spots carefully as cars can approach very quickly.
The speed limit on the motorway is 70mph, but there are often sections where the speed limit is reduced due to roadworks or congestion up ahead. Make sure to pay attention to all signs to ensure you meet the appropriate speed in good time to avoid an accident. As well as speed limits, another thing to keep an eye on is traffic updates, as they will give regular warnings of slow moving traffic, which can give you enough time to perhaps take another junction and avoid the queues.
If you are unfortunate enough to have your vehicle break down on the motorway, it is important not to panic. Pull onto the hard shoulder safely as soon as possible, and switch your hazard lights on. You should then use your phone or the nearest orange emergency phone to call for help – as these phones are numbered, the Highway Agency will be able to pinpoint your location.