Dual Carriageways and Motorways
Driving Position – Dual Carriageway.
1. Position in the left-hand lane for normal driving.
2. Use the right-hand lane for overtaking or turning right.
3. On a three-lane dual carriageway you may stay in the middle lane if there is slower moving traffic on the left. When you have passed them, you should move back to the left lane.
Use of Slip Roads.
• Use these lanes to build up your speed or decrease your speed when either joining or leaving a carriageway.
• Build up your speed to match the speed of the traffic on the carriageway when joining. If you are unable to safely merge into the traffic flow, you must give way.
• Do not slow down on the carriageway before leaving as this could cause problems with the free flow of the traffic.
• Some dual carriageways have short slip roads that require you to use a lower speed and gear in order to negotiate them safely. You may need a bigger gap in traffic to merge and build your speed.
Unless signs or road markings say otherwise:
• Three lane carriageway – Use the left-hand lane. Use the middle lane only to overtake when it is clear of oncoming traffic.
• Four or more lanes – Do not use lanes on the right half of the road
Can anyone Drive on One?
NO. The Motorway must not be used by the following:
2. Provisional licence holders for car not accompanied by a qualified DVSA Approved Driving Instructor.
3. Motorcycles of less than 50cc.
4. Cyclists or horse riders.
5. Oversized vehicles (unless with special permission).
6. Agricultural vehicles.
7. Most invalid carriages.
Are Motorways More Dangerous Than Other Roads?
Due to the fact there are no pedestrians, cyclists, sharp bends, steep hills, roundabouts, traffic lights and so on, the motorway is mile for mile one of the safest roads there is. However, due to the higher speeds involved, when there is an accident it is often a serious one.
Plan your journey.
You should plan your journey, making sure both you and your car are in a safe condition to complete your trip. Don’t drive if you are very tired, on medication that makes you drowsy or you’re feeling ill. Take regular breaks and ensure you have at least enough fuel to get you to the next service station. If feeling tired with no service station for some miles then open your window and turn your stereo on or up.
• Check your tyres are in safe condition and at the correct pressure.
• Your fluid levels should be topped up.
• Your windows and lights should be clean and correctly adjusted.
• Your wipers should be working and effective.
Remember the higher speeds you travel on the motorway will put more strain on the car, so checks like the ones listed are important.
When approaching a motorway, the signs directing you to the motorway will have white lettering on a blue background with a white border. You will find some of these incorporated on larger direction signs or they will stand alone. On the motorway itself the signs will be the same as above but bigger than normal so they can be seen from further away.
The signs on the motorway are:
• Information signs showing distances to services and major towns or cities.
• Route signs that are placed one mile and half a mile from exits.
• Countdown markers placed 300, 200 and 100 yards from each exit.
• Each exit has a number that corresponds with current road maps to help you plan your journey and know where to leave.
• Overhead signs can give you early warning of lane position required for the correct route.
• Warning signs for motorways merging or traffic management systems ahead.
• Tourist signs have a brown background indicating you can reach them by leaving the motorway at the next exit.
Illuminated Signs and Signals.
Are used on the motorway to warn you of danger ahead that you may not be able to see yet, for example: accidents, fog, ice, standing traffic, slow moving queues or some sort of spillage.
• White illuminated signals on the central reservation or above the lanes that have amber flashing lights warn drivers of fog ahead, lane closures, advisory temporary speed limits, or orders you to leave the motorway at the next junction. The information will be clear in white lights.
• End illuminated signals have no amber flashing lights with the word ‘End’ clearly visible in white lights.
• Red illuminated signals found above the lanes or on slip roads have either flashing red lights or a red cross and mean you must not continue in that lane any further.
Known as ‘Cats Eyes’ found on the carriageway separating the lanes are:
• Red between the left lane and hard shoulder
• White between the central lanes
• Amber between the right lane and central reservation
• Green between the left lane and the exit.
Joining and Leaving the Motorway.
In most cases you join and leave a motorway via a slip road from the left. You may also join from another motorway or even a roundabout in rare cases at the beginning of a motorway.
When joining via a slip road you should.
1. Use the slip road to pick up speed, trying to match it to the speed of the traffic in the left-hand lane of the motorway. Some adjustment in your speed may then be necessary in order to fit in to any gaps in the traffic flow.
2. Always indicate your intention to join.
3. Remember that traffic on the motorway has priority and although you should do your best to fit in safely, it is your responsibility to give way at the end of the slip road if necessary.
4. Never cross a solid white line separating lanes.
5. Stay in the left lane until you have adjusted to the conditions and speed before overtaking.
When leaving via a slip road you should.
1. Look for signs to warn you of the approaching exit and move into the left lane in good time.
2. Signal left in good time. At the first count down marker is a good guide.
3. Slow down on the slip road, not the main carriageway.
4. Be aware your perception of speed may have changed when driving at speed for some time. Be careful not to drive too quickly in a 30 limit or to approach your first few junctions too quickly. 50mph may well now feel like 30mph!
Driving on the Motorway.
The left-hand lane is your normal driving position with the two lanes on your right being used as overtaking lanes.
• Always keep in the centre of your lane.
• You should keep a steady speed, planning well ahead for any changes in traffic conditions.
• Never drive too close to the car in front. As a minimum you should keep a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front in good weather. Double this in the wet, further in icy conditions.
• You must not exceed the speed limit of 70mph. There may be lower limits in some areas, for example where there are road works. Stick to the lower limit.
• You must use the service areas to stop and take a break. If you feel tired with no service areas for some miles then you should open your window for better ventilation and turn your stereo on or up. Take regular breaks on long journeys. You may stop on the hard shoulder of the motorway in an emergency only. Read ‘The Highway Code’ for the procedure you should follow.