There’s been a lot in the press recently about young drivers on motorways and how the Government wants to see motorway driving skills taught as part of learner-driver training schemes.
Much of the reaction to the proposal has been positive, with only a few dissenters (mainly individual drivers) who say that they are unlikely to ever use a motorway and so don’t see why they need to learn about how to drive on one.
I don’t know about you, but my first time on a motorway was a bit of a nightmare and not having had any experience made it all the more daunting.
During my driving lessons I was usually taken onto rural roads as I lived in Somerset at the time. My instructor rightly felt that these narrow twisty roads were some of the most dangerous and he wanted young drivers to learn how to drive on them really well.
Of course we went onto main roads as well – some A roads and dual carriageways – and when I passed my test I was under the impression that I knew it all. I was able to travel confidently on my local routes, to and from work and to places I needed to go, so what else did I need to know?
Then came the day when a relative in West Sussex suddenly became very ill and my mum, who doesn’t drive, desperately wanted to get there to visit. We headed for the M27 in my little Fiat Punto and it was a complete and utter shock.
Although we set off as soon as we could, it was winter so it was dark by 4pm and rain was lashing down. All around me I felt like cars were going at a million miles an hour, and, even though I was travelling at around 65mph, it felt like I was standing still.
Overtaking was a nightmare, because I had no experience at judging how far the cars in other lanes were approaching behind me and the whole process of working out which junction I had to exit at was also extremely nerve wracking.
Remembering that horrible journey, I think now how much I would have appreciated some motorway lessons before I passed my test and that as a young driver I definitely did not have all the experience necessary to safely negotiate that unforeseen trip.
If you have any young driver experiences of motorway driving why not let us know. You can comment below or why not tell us about it on our Facebook Page. We look forward to hearing from you.
Image © Phil and Pam via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence