10 tips for safe motorway driving

Motorways are statistically one of the safest types of roads in Britain. As GEM Motoring Assist explains, they account for just 3% of accidents and 4% of fatalities.
Still, many drivers find motorways daunting. And the reason why many drivers also see them as dangerous is because, when there is an incident on a motorway, it’s usually serious due to the speed involved.

Traffic volumes increase on motorways

Traffic on the UK’s roads is growing each year. According to the Road Traffic Estimates report from the Department for Transport, 356.5 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads in 2019 – that’s 2% higher than in 2018.
Cars and taxis made up 278.2 billion of total miles, which is the highest annual estimate of car traffic ever recorded.
Great Britain’s motorways carried 70.5 billion of this traffic, increasing by 2.1% compared to 2018. Traffic volume is 14.1% greater than it was over ten years ago.
You may think that the 70+ billion miles covered on motorways is a lot, but ‘A’ roads recorded 150.2 billion miles last year, while 135.8 billion miles were travelled on minor roads. So, technically, motorways have the least traffic by volume.
 A time lapse of a motorway at night

Motorway safety

Sometimes, drivers will actively avoid motorways because they don’t feel confident driving on them, opting for smaller but longer roads instead. Does that sound familiar?
If so, then knowing a few safety tips could help you to feel more confident tackling motorways. And that means no more wasting time (or petrol money) on those unnecessarily long journeys! Even if you regularly travel on these fast roads, it certainly won’t hurt having a refresher course on safe motorway driving.
Before we share some top tips, you need to make sure you’re covered when driving on motorways – or any public road, for that matter. If you’re looking to get back behind the wheel following a driving conviction, you should choose the Insurance Factory.
We specialise in convicted driver insurance with excellent benefits and consider a range of driving offences. These include driving with insurance, speeding, driving in a dangerous speed or manner, and reckless driving. And we might be able to arrange cover if you’ve been committed of an offence that isn’t motoring-related, too.
Now let’s take a look at 10 top tips that will help you to drive safely while on a motorway:
  1. Always plan your journey in advance so that you know when to join the motorway and at which junction you need to exit it. This way, you’ll be less likely to make last-minute, rash decisions that increase the risk of an accident. It’s fine to use a sat nav, but you should always familiarise yourself with the journey, too.
  2. Use your right indicator when entering a motorway to let vehicles know that you want to join – if it’s clear and safe to do so, then they should move over to let you in. You should try to match the speed of the main traffic, before finding a suitable gap to merge in. Slowing down or coming to a halt at the end of the slipway is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
  3. When it comes to distance between you and other vehicles, a good trick is to follow the two second rule – meaning, there should be a minimum two seconds between you and the car in front. When it’s raining and/or the roads are wet, the time should be increased to a minimum of four seconds.
  4. Forget the ‘fast lane’ – there is no such thing! You should always drive in the left-hand lane, unless you are overtaking slower traffic. If you plan to overtake a few slower vehicles, then it may be safer to remain in that lane as opposed to moving between two, but you should always return to the left lane once you’ve done your overtaking.
  5. Check your mirrors regularly. If you notice a car fast approaching, then check your mirrors and blind spots, turn your indicator on and move lane only when you’re sure that it’s safe to do so.
  6. Always anticipate the road ahead so that you spot potential hazards before they turn into a real risk. You should always watch out for signs indicating that there is a hazard ahead – in many cases these will enforce a temporary speed limit.
  7. Similar to driving on any other road, you should minimise distractions as much as possible. Using your phone is obviously against the law, and eating or drinking while driving could land you in trouble, too. But you might want to switch off the radio and let passengers know that you need to concentrate if you think that will help.
  8. Driving while tired is incredibly dangerous and leads to thousands of accidents each year. Due to the monotony of motorway driving, you should aim to take a break every two hours at the very least.
  9. Is this your first time on a motorway? A good tip is to ask a more experienced driver to come along for the ride. You might even consider booking a lesson with a driving instructor, who will help to make sure you follow all the motorway rules.
  10. If you’re a new driver or someone who tries to avoid motorways, know that experience is the best way to build your skills and confidence. The more you drive on motorways, the more skilled you’ll be at tackling these types of roads.
    A busy motorway in the evening

Affordable convicted driver insurance

If you’ve been involved in an incident on a motorway that’s left you with a driving conviction, Insurance Factory can help.
We understand that the past is the past. Unlike other companies, we don’t judge when it comes to arranging insurance for drivers who have committed an offence.
Instead, we take your individual case into account when finding you a convicted driver insurance policy. We have over 20 years of experience and have access to a panel of specialist providers, with policies packed with the same benefits and features as standard cover.
So, whether you have a motoring or non-motoring conviction, get a quote for convicted driver insurance today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.