Driving on the motorway for the first time can be daunting. Follow our how to drive on the motorway tips to help you.

  • For new drivers its worth having Pass Plus training, your instructor will guide you on the motorway once you have passed your test. You could also drive with a friend or relative who is an experienced driver.
  • Remember the theory test you passed? It’s worth reading over the motorway section again so you know the speed limits etc.
  • Check your car before you set off: tyre pressure, oil levels and brake and windscreen washer fluid.
  • Don’t rely on your sat nav! It’s a good idea to plan your journey before you set off. So that you have a rough idea of what junction you should be getting off and what motorways you will be using to get to your destination.

Joining and leaving the motorway

Joining the motorway, you should start building your speed on the slip road. Accelerate along it to a speed that matches the traffic on the motorway. Give way to traffic already on the motorway. Check your mirrors and look over your right shoulder, then indicate when you have identified a gap. Join only at the point where the dotted white lines start. Do not cross any solid white lines
Leaving the motorway, make sure you’re in the left-hand lane well in advance of the junction, you will see the countdown markers before you exist, each bar represents 100 yards. Indicate left in good time and reduce your speed as necessary when you are on the slip road.


You have to make sure that it is safe to overtake. Check that the lane you want to move into is clear in front of and behind you. Indicate early so other drivers are aware that you want to overtake. Give yourself plenty of room in the lane you want to move to take into account the speed of the other drivers.

Fear of Motorway Driving

Fear of motorway driving is real! According to RAC research, eight million of Britain’s 38 million drivers said they ‘hardly ever’ drive on a motorway. One third said they dislike driving on the motorway or they ask someone else to drive if motorway driving can’t be avoided.

  • Speed and fear of having an accident were the reasons why they don’t like driving on the motorway.
  • Even though motorways are statistically the UK’s safest roads.

So how can you reduce the fear of motorway driving?

  • Book a motorway driving lesson
  • Practice short distances with a friend or relative
  • Drive on your own and come off at the first exit. The next time drive to a further exist. Keep on increasing your time on the motorway, the more you drive on it.
  • Relax; take deep breaths in and out to help yourself keep calm
  • Some people find listening to music in the car helps them relax

Motorway Driving Rules

  • Keep left – “You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.” The Highway Code is clear. The left lane is not just for lorries.
  • Overtaking – overtake on the right of other vehicles.
  • Keep to the speed limit – anyone going over 70mph is breaking the law.
  • If conditions are bad, such as in rain, snow or fog, then you should drive at a slower, safe speed.
  • Leave a safe gap – The Highway Code’s advice is to always to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and to increase the gap on wet or icy roads, or in fog. That means allowing yourself enough space to pull up safely if the car ahead suddenly slows down or stops. This equates to at least two seconds in normal conditions, and double that on wet roads. When it’s icy, leave even more room between cars.
  • When to use the hard shoulder – It’s illegal to use the hard shoulder except in an emergency such as a vehicle breakdown, or if you are directed to by signage, uniformed traffic officers or the police.
  • Hazard lights – You may use your car’s hazard lights on a motorway but only when you need to warn drivers behind of an obstruction ahead.
  • Breaking down – If you require breakdown recovery in Berkshire – call us on 01184492443 – also follow our guide to ensure you and your passengers stay safe.

For up-to-date and more detailed rules have a look at www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/motorways-253-to-273

Before you go – how about taking out short quiz on driving

Quick UK Driving Quiz