Learner drivers are now allowed on Britain’s motorways.
A law change that comes into force on Monday allows learners to drive on motorways to better prepare them for driving at higher speeds.
Drivers were previously only allowed on motorways after passing their test.
Learners can have lessons on the 70mph roads if accompanied by an approved instructor and driving a car fitted with dual controls.
Road safety minister Jesse Norman said: “Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, but road collisions remain the second biggest killer of young people.
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“Allowing learner drivers to have motorway lessons with a qualified road safety expert will help more young drivers to gain the skills and experience they need to drive safely on motorways.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the law change.
What was the previous rule?
Previously, motorists could only drive on a motorway after passing their test.
Do learners now have complete freedom to drive on motorways?
No, they must be accompanied by an approved driving instructor, drive a car fitted with dual controls and display L plates.
Why is this happening?
Statistics show that drivers are most vulnerable to accidents in the first six months after passing the test.
It is hoped allowing them to take motorway lessons will give them a broader driving experience and greater understanding of how to drive safely on high-speed roads.
A fifth (20%) of all fatalities on Britain’s roads in 2016 involved crashes where a driver was aged 17-24, despite that age category making up just 7% of all licence holders, Department for Transport figures show.
Are the lessons compulsory?
Any motorways lessons will be voluntary and it will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner is competent enough for them.
Motorway driving is not being introduced to the driving test.
What should experienced drivers do if they come across a learner on the motorway?
The government advice is to “always be patient with learners as they may not be so skillful at anticipating and responding to events”.
Keep a safe distance from a learner in front of you and increase the gap on wet or icy roads, or in fog.
What about motorcyclists?
The change in law does not apply to learner motorcyclists.
How do learners feel about driving on motorways?
One in 12 (8%) current licence holders avoid motorways for at least six months after passing their test, according to an AA poll of more than 20,000 motorists.
More than a quarter (27%) said they felt scared when they did venture on to a motorway for the first time.