Learning to drive is a peculiar concept. Many remember how daunting it felt to climb inside what was essentially a rolling metal can and coyly attempt to navigate their way out of a quaint suburban junction.
Today, some people probably speed down the country’s busiest motorways whilst texting, scoffing a hot dog and watching the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy, all at the same time without incident.
It’s this kind of recklessness that makes you question whether there was anything to worry about in the first place.
The vast majority of driving lessons are held on quiet roads with minimal traffic, with learners only venturing on to more congested thoroughfares once they have built enough confidence.
Yet once they’ve passed their physical driving test, these novice motorists are free to wander on to any public road. Imminently motorways, despite having zero experience of driving on roads that are significantly faster and more dangerous.
Newly-passed drivers may get a few pointers from well-meaning pals but no amount of advice is going to prepare any motorist for the reality of motorways.
Having spent hundreds, maybe thousands, of pounds on tuition, few are keen to fork out even more cash for Pass Plus lessons if they don’t have to.
Figures show that younger drivers are around five to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 25+. They also show that more than 90 per cent of road traffic collisions are caused by human error.
That’s why the government recently announced that it is pushing plans to allow learner drivers on the motorway. The lessons won’t be mandatory and it will be down to the instructor to decide when a learner is ready.
It is hoped that by allowing learners to take lessons on motorways, they’ll know how to use them properly and build a knowledge of how to enter and leave the motorways, use lanes correctly, how to overtake and understand more complex interchanges and junctions.
Of the 120 young driver deaths in 2015, 80% of them were on rural roads, with just 4% on motorways. So that begs the question – why focus on motorways?
Driving on a motorway is very different from driving on most other roads because it requires a specific set of skills, as well as a correct understanding of the rules and protocols. With the high speeds involved, any collision is likely to have a severe outcome.
Many new drivers admit they feel so scared and intimidated by driving on motorways. Meaning they avoid using them and instead drive on what are statistically more dangerous roads.
The government hopes to address this by amending the law so that motorway driving can be incorporated into a learner driver’s pre-test instruction.
Driving schools and motoring organisations are being invited to have their say on the plans as part of a consultation until February 17th.
But what do you think? Is it wise to let learners on the fastest roads in Britain? Will it make newly qualified drivers feel any more confident? Have your say in our comment section below.
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