Why it's a good idea to allow learner drivers to have lessons on our motorways

17 August 2017 Blog

Motorpoint blogger Ken Gibson applauds the Government's decision to finally allow learner drivers to drive on the motorway

“It’s vital that young learner drivers need to experience them before they have passed their test (because) it’s madness to think they will instantly pick up how to drive safely on motorways straight after passing their test with no previous experienc”

Apparently the Government does listen! After years of debate it is finally changing the Driving Test to allow learner drivers to drive on the motorway.

From 2018 onwards learner drivers will be allowed onto motorways in dual control cars for the first time with a driving instructor as part of their preparation for the test.

It’s always seemed blindingly obvious to me that learner drivers should be able to experience the very different demands of driving on a motorway as part of their learning.

Driving on a three or four lane motorway demands a totally different level of driving abilities than on an A or B road. The extra speed, the extra traffic, even the constant number of road signs can be intimidating to some seasoned drivers, and that’s before you add in the constant road works. You need to concentrate a lot harder on a motorway.

As a motorway driver you need to learn new disciplines and remember that the second and third lanes are actually just for overtaking, and not lanes you can sit in for ages slowing up everybody else. Gauging the additional speeds that other vehicles are travelling also takes some getting used to - it’s frightening how many drivers panic on a motorway.

Which is why it’s vital that young learner drivers need to experience them before they have passed their test, it’s madness to think they will instantly pick up how to drive safely on motorways straight after passing their test with no previous experience.

The motorway driving is just one of a number of significant changes to the Driving Test. From December 4th learners sitting their test will also undergo 20 minutes of independent driving - instead of currently 10 minutes - which will assess their ability to follow instructions from a Sat Nav for the first time. As Sat Nav’s are now an integral part on most cars it’s a sensible addition, I just hope they are more reliable and the instructions clearer than some I have used recently!

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About the author

Ken Gibson

Ken Gibson was Motoring Editor for The Sun for 23 years during which time he became one of the best known motoring newspaper journalists in the world. Over that period Ken tested thousands of cars from super minis to SUVs and super cars, and drove millions of miles all over the world.

As well as writing a blog covering the motoring issues of the day, he also independently road tests and creates video reviews on a cross section of cars sold by Motorpoint.