Learner drivers on motorways

From the 4th June 2018, learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will be allow on the motorway for the first time as long as they are accompanied by a fully qualified driving instructor.

Here are some basic guidelines.

For instructors

  • The driving instructor must be fully qualified. It is an offence for a trainee driving instructor to conduct a motorway lesson with a provisional licence holder. You must complete all part 3 driving instructor training, pass the part 3 test and  hold a green ADI badge.
  • The driving instructor must use their judgement and only take the learner on the motorway when they are competent and test ready.
  • In a normal lesson, the instructor may pull upon a side road to discuss a driving matter. This should not be done on the hard shoulder, but can be done at a service station car park.
  • The instructor must be very sure their roof sign is safe and secure to withstand the consistent 70mph speed for a long period of time. If unsure, check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • In high winds or if the instructor’s car is icy, consider taking the roof sign off and displaying only L-plates.
  • L-plates should be used on the front and back of the car as a minimum.
  • PDIs can provide refreshers training to full licence holders, but not provisional licence holders.
  • PDIs are not allowed to provide pass plus training until they have fully qualified.
  • If you and your pupil do not live near a motorway, this lesson may be more theory based/Q+A based, covering dual carriageways where possible.
  • Double check with your insurance company that your policy allows for learners on the motorway. Especially while this law is new.

For learners

  • You can’t go on the motorway with friends or family, even if the car is insured for a provisional licence holder. You are only legally allowed to go on the with a fully qualified driving instructor.
  • Trust your driving instructor’s judgement as to when they think you may be ready to go on the motorway.
  • It is not essential to go on the motorway to pass your driving test. You will not go on the motorway regardless of your location for the driving test.
  • You may be required to do at least a 2-3 hour lesson to cover motorways thoroughly and to allow for travel time to get to the motorway and possible delays on the motorway. For example, If you are taking your driving lessons in Oxford then you wouldn’t be able to complete a motorway lesson in anything less than 2 hours.
  • By doing a 2-3 hour lesson on the motorway, you should experience some driver fatigue/tiredness while under the guidance of the instructor. If this is the case, your instructor might advise a short break during the lesson.

Motorway driving lessons

Below is a syllabus providing different teaching elements for motorways that should be understood and demonstrated by the learner.

Skill requirements

  • Effective observation
  • Good anticipation
  • Effective use of mirrors
  • Continual re-assessment of other vehicles
  • Reading the road ahead
  • Joining from slip roads, judgement of speed and position of other vehicles
  • Following distances
  • Safe overtaking
  • Courtesy to other road users

Teaching elements to be covered

  • Forward planning and observation
  • Reaction to other road users
  • Lane discipline
  • Safe lane changing
  • Separation distances
  • Reaction to road signs and markings
  • Awareness and planning
  • Judgement of faster moving traffic
  • Vehicle lighting requirements
  • Journey planning, use of Service Areas
  • How to avoid fatigue, adequate ventilation
  • Joining and leaving motorways, using acceleration and deceleration lanes
  • Emerging and safe overtaking
  • Assessing other traffic
  • Understanding Crawler Lanes and slow-moving traffic
  • Dealing with LGVs, high sided vehicles, side winds and turbulence
  • Driving in adverse weather conditions, high winds, rain, spray, fog, snow/ice
  • Smart Motorways, Gantry Signs and lane use
  • Understanding Marker Posts and Safety Telephones
  • Accident and breakdown procedures
  • Dealing with multi-agency incidents
  • Dealing with contraflow and other road maintenance
  • Safe use of Hard Shoulders
  • How to react to Emergency Vehicles and Highways Agency Officers
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