How to drive safely on the motorway

Red van driving on a motorway

Broken down? Leave it to the professionals

Statistics may tell us that motorways are the safest roads in the UK but when collisions happen, they are likely to result in deaths. If you breakdown on the motorway, switch on the hazard warning lights and exit the vehicle from the left side. Then use an emergency telephone to call for assistance, or call your breakdown provider. Green Flag operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year; call us on 0800 051 0636 or 0141 349 0353.

Take more training

If you don’t feel confident driving on the motorway, it’s a good idea to take additional training. There are plenty of independent companies with qualified driving instructors that will help put you at ease.

Plan ahead

Make sure you know the route you’re intending to take, where you currently are on the motorway and how soon you’ll need to turn off. Some satellite navigation systems don’t give much warning for the junction they want you to exit at.

Obey speed limits

Speed limits are in place for your safety and the safety of other road users, so stick to them. It will mean you’re less likely to be involved in an accident, and keeps fuel bills lower too.

Slow down in bad weather

In bad weather, drivers frequently don’t adjust their speed to suit the conditions and visibility. The Highway Code says stopping distances can double in the wet. Drive according to the conditions, leave extra margin for error and increase the distance between the vehicle in front. Remember to switch on lights or fog lights if appropriate.

The two-second rule

Ensure that there is at least a gap of two seconds between you and the car in front. You can work this out simply by counting the time it takes to pass a roadside marker (such as a lamp post ) after the leading car has passed it. Leave at least four seconds in bad weather.

Keep to the left lane

Unless overtaking, keep to the left.

Take a break

Every two hours, take a break for at least 15 minutes.

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