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Learners on the Motorway

March, 7 2018 | Noelle Darwent

 

Learners on the Motorway

Could this be a view we’ll be seeing this year as learner drivers will, at some point, be allowed to have lessons on motorways? Only valid approved instructors (ADI) will be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway and they must teach them in a vehicle with dual controls.

This is a welcome move as so much driving takes place on motorways: although motorways are only physically 1% of miles of the UK road network, they provide 21% of vehicle miles driven. (Road Use Statistics Great Britain - www.licencebureau.co.uk). It's all very well learning the theory or watching someone else overtaking, correctly using motorway lanes, driving at higher speed and using slip lanes, but it has got to be an improvement for learners to gain practical experience with an instructor before being let loose on a motorway as soon as they have passed their test.

Motorway driving will not yet be part of the practical driving test. The test was updated in December 2017 to give learners the skills to cope with the demands of modern driving.

The independent driving part of the test (introduced in 2010 with candidates) where learners must drive for 10 minutes, making their own decisions following traffic signs, a series of directions or a combination of both. In 2017 this was increased to 20 minutes and now includes following directions by satnav. Candidates must use a satnav set up by the examiner. According to http://www.gov.uk/government/news one in five tests won't be using a SatNav, they'll use traffic signs.

Reversing round corners and turn-in-the-road will be taught but not tested. Instead candidates will be expected to parallel park or park in a bay or pull up at the right of the road, reverse for two car lengths and then rejoin the traffic.

Candidates will also be asked two vehicle safety questions during the test. These are things like how to carry out a safety task and then showing how it is done, such as using the windscreen wipers.

Getting a driving license in the UK is certainly harder than in India where, apparently, you can pay between 500 and 100 rupees not to take a test or Mexico where you don't have to take a test at all. However, the Nordic countries rules are more stringent than the UK, for example, in Denmark learners must complete four lessons on a slippery track which includes regaining control after skidding and keeping control after driving over a high edge plus four practical manoeuvre lessons on a track which includes a forward and reverse slalom.

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