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Motorway Driving

Last updated  21 May 2018

Collisions on motorways can be severe because of the high speeds involved. Please follow our tips to stay safe on motorways.

 Car and trailer road traffic collision on M1 with emergency vehicles

  • Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you;
  • Use a landmark like a mileage post as a marker and follow the two second rule – that’s the minimum time between you and the vehicle in front;
  • In wet weather increase this to four seconds;
  • The maximum motorway speed for cars and motorcycles is 70mph;
  • For vehicles towing a caravan or trailer, HGVs, articulated goods vehicles and buses or coaches over 12 meters in the length, the limit is 60mph;
  • Make sure you know what the special motorway signs mean - these usually warn about traffic conditions ahead and can indicate a lower speed limit;
  • A variable speed limit over individual lanes showing inside a red ring is mandatory;
  • Flashing red lights on the overhead signals above a lane with a red ’X’ sign means you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in that lane;
  • If red lights flash on a signal in the central reservation or at the side of the road, you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in any lane;
  • Do not overtake unless it is safe and legal to do so. Overtake only on the right and remember you should:
  • Check all your mirrors carefully and lookout for motorcyclists as traffic may be coming up behind you very quickly;
  • Take time to judge the speeds of other vehicles correctly;
  • Make sure that the lane you are joining is sufficiently clear ahead and behind;
  • Take a sideways glance into the blind spot area to check the position of a vehicle that may have disappeared from your view in the mirror;
  • When it is safe, signal in plenty of time, then move out;
  • Make sure you do not cut in on the vehicle you have overtaken;
  • Take special care at night and in poor visibility when it is harder to judge speed and distance;
  • Take particular care when overtaking left hand drive foreign lorries and be aware of their blind spots on their right hand passenger side. Never drive too close and when planning to overtake, drop back to give the driver a better chance of seeing you.
For more information about safe motorway driving, update your knowledge of The Highway Code.

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