/ First time on Motorway!
Any advice would be much appreciated :)
Ditto the actual journey..... go at a quiet time.
My advice would be stick to lane 1 as much as possible until you're acclimatised......
Biggest point though is WATCH OUT FOR YOUR BLIND SPOT when changing lanes.
All cars have a bit of a blind spot, so if you're changing lanes and there's a car on your rear quarter you may not see it unless you physically turn your head to look.
You can also try the method of looking in your wing/rearview mirror, pick a car behind you in the lane you want to change to and do not pull out until that car passes you. The effectiveness of this really depends on your own skills in the use of your mirrors.
Also, indicate early. Don't whack the indicator on and change lanes!
Also, putting on an indicator does not give you the right to pull into the next lane. Its on YOU to make sure that there is no traffic coming up behind.
Last one....... if you're stuck behind a slow car/lorry and want to overtake, don't stay right up close behind it and change lanes then accelerate to that lane's speed.
Instead, pull back, wait for a clear gap in the lane, indicate, then accelerate in your own lane THEN change lanes.
Oh - and don't use your brakes. It really isn't necessary. Just lift your foot off the accelerator if you need to slow down. For some reason there is a bit of a trend amongst some drivers to be toddling happily down the middle lane at 70 and then hit the brakes!!! And we wonder why our roads keep grinding to a halt.
Give yourself plenty of time
Early mornings are quieter
Try to get up to speed on the sliproad so you join the motorway at around 60-70mph not 40
Don't panic if you miss your exit, it's not the end of the world
Look a long way ahead - plan for slip roads joining on the left and move over in time so that cars can join safely
Check your blind spot before changing lanes
Don't worry if you get boxed in a bit, just wait for a safe moment to move out
Adjust gradually to the speeds around you, try not to brake unless absolutely necessary because it causes other cars behind you to brake and half an hour later cars will still be braking in that spot for no apparent reason
Try not to go the whole way in the middle lane at 60mph
If it's just nerves then pop out with someone you trust for a quick couple of junctions locally before you go.
Other than that it's basically a bigger dual carriageway:
Keep an awareness of what's around you including well ahead and what's approaching from behind
Keep plenty of space all around you, make space if you need it
Signal before moving
Check your blindspot and don't linger in other people's
Avoid unnecessary/abrupt speed changes
Get left asap
Plan your route then watch the signs
Enjoy, the motorway is the easiest most boring driving you'll ever do :)
Plan, take your time, and try not to get "carried away" or influenced in to keeping at the speed the rest of the peeps are doing, which may feel uncomfortably fast for you- YOU are in control of YOUR car's speed. If a queue builds behind, so what. As long as you are in lane one, it's not a problem.
When things get busy/hairy/all the lanes get congested, I tend to ensure I am in lane one- there is always the hard shoulder to run into for a refuge if something nasty happens immediately in front of you. I know it gives me a little comfort to know there is somewhere to go if an incident occurs. It hasn't yet, but the peace of mind is worth it.
good point re blind spot- having been on motorbikes for years, I STILL do the safety look- just a glance- but it has saved my bacon many a time.
Everyone else on the road will be an idiot. Stay vigilant, with this in mind.
If you do miss your junction, don't panic- they'll be another one coming along presently, and you can get back onto the motorway in the opposite direction until you get to the junction you wanted in the first place. I've done this many a time with a caravan in tow, going to strange (to me) bits of the country.
Have a good time!
My main concern is flapping on the entry slip road but I think Iíll be happy enough just to pootle along on the left lane for the most part. Iím still in two minds but Iíd really like to go :)
Possibly a bit late, but get a proper motorway lesson with a qualified instructor?
Take an experienced friend along?
Don't be bullied into the middle lane when a slip road joins or feel you should move over, it causes you to change lanes with a time limit leading to panic and poor decisions not to mention a major cause of traffic jams. Increase the gap between you and the car in front by lifting off the accelerator then match speeds with vehicle in front. Its up to the joining traffic to get in the gap at the right speed.
Also, assume everyone is an idiot and indicators and flashing headlights just show the bulbs are working.
> Its up to the joining traffic to get in the gap at the right speed.
This. Does my nut when joining traffic seems to think that you should be the one to get out of the way. Although that said I'd like to think I'm courteous enough and will move over if it's safe to do so.
> Also, assume everyone is an idiot and indicators and flashing headlights just show the bulbs are working.
And the indicator's on BMW's are an optional extra :-)
PS take Fun House by Iggy and Stooges to play really loud ;o)
Don't worry about it. It's basically the same as a dual carriageway.
Don't do this ... it's up to the cars joining the motorway to match the speed of and give way to traffic already on the motorway.
If you move across then you have to give way to traffic overtaking you and therefore you're putting yourself in harms way.
> Don't do this ... it's up to the cars joining the motorway to match the speed of and give way to traffic already on the motorway.
> If you move across then you have to give way to traffic overtaking you and therefore you're putting yourself in harms way.
I know we all drive differently but I feel that moving out of the way in anticipation of joining traffic when the motorway is busy can be a lot safer.
Just my opinion but it works for me.
And don't to what a GF of a mate used to do when looking over her shoulder to check traffic - she yanked the wheel to the right every time - terrifying!
Just out interest, do you not have to drive on a motorway in the driving exam in the UK? I spent about 20 minutes on a motorway and was required to overtake lorries in my exam (but that wasn't in the UK).
"My main concern is flapping on the entry slip road"
At most junctions there's the option to "abort" onto the hard shoulder if you end up running out of slip-road. I did that the first time I went on a motorway (though never again since).
> Just out interest, do you not have to drive on a motorway in the driving exam in the UK? I spent about 20 minutes on a motorway and was required to overtake lorries in my exam (but that wasn't in the UK).
Nope - not even dual carriageways either. Also the test is time-limited so if you end up in a traffic jam just sitting there for a full hour you'll pass even if you've not demonstrated any manoeuvres.
I've heard the German systems's one of the best in that you have to sit multiple tests (normal road, motorway, snow, rain, etc.) before you actually have a full license.
No, you don't. Indeed, it would be illegal to do so, as you are not allowed on the motorway at all prior to passing your test.
"I know we all drive differently but I feel that moving out of the way in anticipation of joining traffic when the motorway is busy can be a lot safer."
I would agree. As some people assume you will let them in, it is better defensive driving to let them in if it looks like they are assuming that, or just to move over if safe anyway. By being stubborn you won't change how they drive, even if how they drive is incorrect, so you might as well deal with it safely.
That sort of thing can be the difference between a not-fault accident and no accident. Whether at fault or not, nobody wants an accident.
"Don't just drive assuming everyone else is dangerously incompetent. Drive assuming everyone else is actively out to kill you."
> I know we all drive differently but I feel that moving out of the way in anticipation of joining traffic when the motorway is busy can be a lot safer.
It *can* be a lot safer if the motorway's quiet but it isn't and shouldn't be blanket advice to do so.
Let's say you're pootling along at 65mph, there's traffic about to enter at 60mph so you pull across 1 lane to the right into traffic doing 70mph. Now you either need to have sped up to match their speed or you've just caused them all to have to brake.
Now those speeds are on the generous side - the 65mph and 60mph are conceivable whereas the overtaking traffic's more likely to be doing more 75mph or more.
Now which is the safer option?
Another point of defensive driving on the motorway that many ignore...
Try wherever possible not to change lanes directly alongside another vehicle, as that puts you in their blind spot and risks an accident if they decide to pull out without checking properly.
If you're overtaking someone in lane 3 who is driving in lane 2 and they start to pull in, do not immediately follow them in by yourself pulling into lane 2, wait until they have completed their manoeuvre before pulling in. It doesn't give them room to abort if there is a problem. I see this loads, and it grates because it is pointlessly dangerous.
If it's safe to move over into the second lane to allow traffic to filter on to lane 1........ it's by far the safest thing to do.
As the driver it's your job to establish if it IS safe. It certainly is the courtious thing to do.
Chosing to do this or not on a rule based system, I.E. you should move/you should hold your ground simply shows you are not a particularly good driver. Driving is a fluid situation which demands a driver to react in a sensible way to conditions.
This isn't just me saying this, I have an instructor in a different field, highly experienced, who bangs home this point about dealing with situations fludily in every single lesson.
If anything a motorway is easier, as there won't be any cyclists and you have the hard shoulder to escape if necessary.
If you're in Northants I guess you might have used the A5D through MK before? That more or less is a motorway, just no hard shoulder and 2 lanes. It's pretty much the same as a French motorway.
Nobody is right or wrong here. The driver will choose which ever style that he/she is more comfortable with.
Like I said, if its busy then I will move to the 2nd (middle) lane just before the exit ramp in anticipation on traffic joining the on ramp. That way you have enough time to build speed safely.
I certainly don't feel comfortable in lane 1 near the on ramps.
> If it's safe to move over into the second lane to allow traffic to filter on to lane 1........ it's by far the safest thing to do.
> As the driver it's your job to establish if it IS safe. It certainly is the courtious thing to do.
And to the point about not having an accident vs. not having an accident which isn't your fault.
The problem is that people fall into habits and then treat these as rules that they always follow (people entering - I'll just move into the outside lane of a two lane motorway without considering what the result is to those drivers as well).
And don't get me started on people who can't use exit slip lanes - *must change lane within the first 50 feet of the slip lane even though I have 0.5 miles to do so.*
There should be a test before being allowed on the motorway - perhaps having a different colour number plate to denote you aren't allowed there.
> Nobody is right or wrong here. The driver will choose which ever style that he/she is more comfortable with.
> Like I said, if its busy then I will move to the 2nd (middle) lane just before the exit ramp in anticipation on traffic joining the on ramp. That way you have enough time to build speed safely.
> I certainly don't feel comfortable in lane 1 near the on ramps.
Do you do this on two lane motorways as well - effectively blocking the overtaking traffic?
... because they're mostly all glued to the middle lane already!
Dont think about it, just drive. It will come natural...
I see it as When you first started your brain went: Seatbelt > Ignition > Mirrors > Clutch > Gear > Slowly release Clutch.. ***STALL***
Now you get in the car and just do it...
Just drive and you'll be fine, slip roads are like dual carriageways, dont get hung up about it...
One thing i will say is DONT BE A MIDDLE LANE HOGGER!!! Does my head in and im white van man (says alot)...
> Do you do this on two lane motorways as well - effectively blocking the overtaking traffic?
Yes. They have brakes and should also be anticipating it like what I do.
What should you do when aliens start shitting molten metal all over the carriageway?
Lastly I think one should always examine ones own driving rather than other people's and think could I have done that better or safer, more courteously. The worst drivers are those who think they're the best possibly only topped by overweight company car drivers on Ducati's with little experience of riding when the sun goes behind a cloud.
"Another related one to watch out for: before changing from L3 to L2, make sure there's not somebody who's about to move from L1 into the same piece of L2."
Similarly, always indicate in unless you are absolutely certain there is nobody who can benefit from it (or simpler version: always indicate in regardless). Doing so might cause that person *not* to move out.
> Do you do this on two lane motorways as well - effectively blocking the overtaking traffic?
I think you're getting a little hung up on this, positing a variety of scenarios where the person pulling out to leave the inside lane clear is both a) going slower than the speed limit/other traffic and b) not looking first to see if this will have an impact on anyone else. It kind of amounts to "don't do x because you might also be doing y and z" even though y and z are unrelated to x.
If it is busy, moving over isn't going to be simple and you'd need to concentrate on finding a gap, the cars entering at the slip road, the guy in front of you slowing down and the guy behind you pulling the same manoeuvre. For a new driver thats a lot to look for.
If its very quiet then its worth doing it to prevent you having to change speeds as a large proportion of drivers don't seem to understand that a slip road should be used to get up to speed and its long for a reason.
Staying in lane one and creating a big gap in front gives the entering traffic something to aim for and if needed, you have space to accelerate into if they look like they will enter behind you. It only requires you to concentrate on the car coming on and the guy in front who is now way above the braking distance away, much less to worry about for a new driver.
"Do you do this on two lane motorways as well - effectively blocking the overtaking traffic?"
Personally, I check my mirrors and see if there is any traffic approaching that appears to be travelling at a speed where they will reach me before I'm likely to have moved back in. If there is, I won't move out, but if there is not I will.
If I overtake in lane 3 with a low speed difference between me and the car in lane 2 I do the same thing.
Get out of the middle lane
Enter motorway at 60
Check blindspots before moving anywhere.
Slow down when it rains, increase your distance, don't forget to turn on your lights if the visibility drops for any reason.
Finding a motorway buddy who drives at your speed and has good lane discipline is great as they give you advance warning that you need to overtake or pull back in.
And because it's stress-free it'll actually seem faster.
"The holy grail is finding a coach at 70mph"
Not many of those now, most are limited to 62mph (100km/h) even though they are legally allowed to drive at 70mph on a motorway.
Problem with following people for hours on end is you understandably get funny looks. Especially in a van lol
> Do you do this on two lane motorways as well - effectively blocking the overtaking traffic?
Yes. No distinction between duals or 3's but I don't as you say 'block' traffic. Ill increase my speed to 70/75 if needed. So no blocking from me.
"Finding a lorry actually doing 60 is also another hard one sometimes."
Same. They are limited to 56mph (90km/h) even though they could legally drive at 60mph.
If you do find a lorry/coach/car to sit behind and follow, remember to keep your eye on the junctions, you don't wnt to find yourself turning into their depot/front drive after following them that bit too far!! :-)
Interesting and thought provoking bit of information: Say it takes you X metres to stop from 70mph, if you are doing 100mph and hit the brakes by the time you have gone X metres you will still be doing about 70mph. In the case of a motorway, this means that if you drive at a safe distance for 70mph, but find yourself doing 100mph you could find yourself hitting a stationary object at 70mph... scary.
The faster you go the further you travel before the brakes come on and then it takes longer to slow down?
This is an example based on genuine research AFAIK and is used by various driving courses in the UK.
To hit a stationary object decelerating from 100mph to 70mph....... you'd have to notice it only 400feet or so ahead.
WTF is a person who isn't noticing stopped traffic 400ft ahead doing on a motorway?
I rarely drive less than 85mph on a motorway (even when passing a police car I only slow to 80) and never had a problem braking in time for stopped traffic.
Welcome to "The Delta Zone"!
What do you fly?
> If your close enough to be in their slip stream you'll be far to close to stop safely at 60mph.
> My main concern is flapping on the entry slip road but I think Iíll be happy enough just to pootle along on the left lane for the most part. Iím still in two minds but Iíd really like to go :)
After i passed my test i paid for my driving instructor to give me a motorway lesson. It was really useful as he told me how to negotiate the slip roads and about lane etiquete which you don't really learn before passing your test. Most importantly it gave me some hands on experience in motorway driving, massive confidence booster.
You are a perfect illustration of my first point. You have learnt that driving 85mph is safe because you do it and nothing has happened to you. Indeed 99.99% of the time motorway traffic is highly predictable and you can drive at 85, 100 or 120 without consequence. If you are lucky you will never have a crash and therefore continue believing and spreading the word that at 85mph you will never crash.
Obviously there is no 'cut-off' point, 70mph still has risk, and there is no sudden huge increase going to 71mph. My advice was to ensure that your stopping distance is adequate for your speed, not necessarily to allow the full stopping distance between vehicles or to drive at 70 exactly.
Changing CDs, rooting for sweets, taking a leisurely check of their blindspot, sneezing, shouting at kids, day dreaming and generally being distracted... all the usual sh*t.
I constantly scan from near distance to far distance, then back to near distance, then to mirrors then back to near distance and so on. I scan to left (because I'm usually in lane three) to look for minor signs of drift in a vehichle which might indicate it's about to change lane.
I do not drive slavishly. I'll leave that to the idiots.
All I can say is - stop posting on UKC whilst driving on the motorway!!
ps: and I look forward to seeing the results of your photography whilst there, as ever.
Vehicles drive much faster on motorways than you will be used to. Take a bit of time to appreciate this and that vehicles and will come up on you faster than you thought. 70 mph is generally treated as the minimum rather than maximum speed on motorways. Majority will be travelling around 80 mph. Indicate plenty of time before moving out and moving back. Be aware that cars may undertake you if you are in the middle lane. Pulling back to the left once you've overtaken will avoid this. If pulling back to the left means you'll need to pull back out in a few seconds then just stay in the lane you are in. If someone is playing silly buggers just let them go. It'll reduce your stress and the chances of an accident.
Relax. Try and avoid services if you can. They are the most convoluated designs for getting back out, leading to stress, and fuel is super expensive compared to those on other roads.
Yep. It's a subtle difference in action but a major difference in experience between doing 60mph and joining the overtaking actively involved in the motorway game and doing 55mph [an appropriate distance] behind a lorry in the inside lane and being a much more passive user of the road. For starters no overtaking is just more relaxing and usually results in more time to think about other aspects of the journey/drive.
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