Dual Carriageways & Motorways
(HC 116 – 117 )
EMERGING ONTO A DUAL CARRIAGE WAY TURNING LEFT –
There could be an acceleration lane to allow you to accelerate to an appropriate speed to match the traffic already on the dual carriageway if not, allow extra time to join the new road. You should not emerge unless you are sure that you will not cause traffic already on the dual carriageway to slow down, change direction or stop. This will mean an additional mirror and blindspot check over the right shoulder before leaving the acceleration lane. Remember to enter into the left-hand lane first when there is a safe gap.
EMERGING ONTO A DUAL CARRIAGEWAY TURNING RIGHT –
You are going to need to cross two lanes of fast-moving traffic. There is likely to be a central reservation to separate the two carriageways. If it is wide enough for your vehicle to wait in without causing other traffic to slow down, change direction, or stop. You can use the gap. This will allow you to complete the turn in two stages. If not, do not emerge unless it is clear in BOTH directions. After emerging check your mirrors and make sure, your indicators have cancelled. You need to be in the left-hand lane and accelerate up to an appropriate speed as soon as possible. Extra care is needed because of the speed.
TURNING LEFT OFF A DUAL CARRIAGE WAY –
Use the Normal MSPSL procedure but allow extra time because of the speeds that could be involved. There might be a deceleration lane. Remember to use the brakes to slow and gears to go. (HC 149)
TURNING RIGHT OFF OF A DUAL CARRIAGE WAY –
Use the Normal MSPSL procedure but allow extra time again. You will need to move into the right-hand lane earlier than normal maintaining a right-hand signal. Watch out for traffic coming from behind you. A blindspots check before changing lanes can be a lifesaver. There might be a deceleration lane on the right-hand side. If so, try not to decelerate until in the deceleration lane.
EXTRA USE OF MIRRORS AND BLINDSPOT CHECKS –
When driving in queues of slow-moving traffic be patient and show consideration to other road users. Watch out for distance between yourself and the car in front. Keep a lookout for cyclists coming up on either side of you?
BREAKDOWNS ON A DUAL CARRIAGEWAY –
If there is a hard shoulder, you should try to drive your car onto it. If not still, try to make the car as safe as possible taking care not to stop on long grass especially if you are driving a car with a catalytic converter because this could cause a fire! You should use your hazard warning lights, and any hazard warning devices, leaving a space of 45 meters from the rear of your vehicle. Do not use any warning devices on a 70-mph road, as placing it is considered dangerous. Telephone for assistance, giving as much information as possible as to where and what happened.
Motorways (HC 247 – 269 )
THE DRIVER AND VEHICLE ON THE MOTORWAY
Before being allowed onto a motorway there are several conditions you will need to meet. Firstly, the law does not allow pedestrians, holders of provisional ordinary licenses, pedal cycles, motorcycles under 50cc, or certain types of slow-moving or agricultural vehicles to drive on the motorway or powered Wheelchairs /Powered mobility Vehicles
When on the motorway you must drive on the carriageways only and treat them as one-way carriageways. You will need to observe the speed limit restrictions and know what the special signs that you might see on the motorway from time to time are. You must not reverse or stop on the carriageway or central reservation. You should not stop on the hard shoulder except in an emergency.
Your car will need to be fit to drive at speed. Travelling at high speed for a long time is going to increase the likelihood of mechanical failure. Therefore, before starting to drive on a motorway you must complete your checks for a long journey. Take special note that there is enough fuel for the journey, oil (because running out can cause dangerous and expensive damage to the car), water for the radiator and windscreens reservoirs. If necessary, carry extra fuel, oil & water in case of trouble. Make sure that the containers are the correct type, safe for each liquid and properly marked. Be sure that all the instruments are working properly. That includes all lights, windscreen wipers, and washers. Be sure that the brakes are working properly and the tyres and exhaust are in a safe and legal condition.
If you are towing or carrying anything outside the car makes sure that it is safe and secure. If it does fall off NEVER try to recover it yourself – it can be VERY DANGEROUS. Drive to the nearest emergency telephone or service station and inform the police. There is normally an emergency telephone every mile on motorways and posts indicate the direction of the nearest telephone every 100 yards.
If, while you are driving you feel drowsy or tired the driving manual to advises you. To open your windows for ventilation until you can reach a service station or leave the motorway so that you can stop and stretch your legs and have a rest.
SPEED The national speed limits are 70 mph but remember to travel at a speed where you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear. Watch out for any change in the speed limit.
NORMAL ROAD POSITION –
Stay in the left lane unless overtaking or turning right unless road markings or signs indicate otherwise. There are no “fast lanes”.
JOINING THE MOTORWAY
There are three ways of joining a motorway. At a roundabout where the motorway starts, when the main road becomes a motorway or by joining from a slip road. When joining from a slip road remember you MUST give way to traffic already on the motorway. It does not matter which lane you use when joining on a slip road. Using the right-hand lane of a slip road can be especially dangerous because you will need to take into consideration traffic to your left as well as traffic already on the motorway. Adjust your speed so when you join, you do not force your way onto the carriageway or drive on the hard shoulder. Always signal your intention of joining the motorway and make sure that you can see and be seen in plenty of time.
DRIVING ON THE MOTORWAY
While driving on the motorway, remember to continually reassess the movement of cars ahead, beside and behind you. Also, remember to leave at least one metre or yard per mph of your speed (in dry weather) between yourself and the car in front. Another useful method of judging the distance is called the Two-Second Rule. Remember to be sure that you can see clearly and be seen in bad weather or low visibility. In poor light conditions, you are recommended to use your dipped headlights. Remember that when the visibility is below 100m you should use your fog lights if fitted.
It is important to remember that while driving on the motorway that you should keep to the left-hand lane unless you are overtaking. If you overtake a stream of slow-moving traffic, remember to return to the left-hand lane as soon as it is safe. Do not race other traffic while driving on the motorway and be prepared to move to another lane to make it easier for joining traffic to merge.
When overtaking remember to use the MSM, routine properly and in good time because of the increased stopping distance due to the speeds involved. Before deciding to commit yourself to overtake, check your blind spots on the right-hand side.
If you recognise a Hazard that causes you to slow down quickly it is acceptable to use your Hazard Lights to warn following traffic of what you intend to do. If you brake, try not to break violently and use your brakes in good time. Remember to give more time for each manoeuvre and allow for cars travelling faster than you do. There are various motorway signs, signals and studs used on the motorways that are different from the normal road signs. You must be aware of what they are – look them up in the Highway Code.
LEAVING / END OF MOTORWAY
As with joining the motorway, there are three ways of leaving a motorway. At a roundabout, when a motorway becomes the main road and by a slip road. Always look for the signs and remember to go through your manoeuvres in good time. Think ahead when leaving a motorway – which lane you will need to be in once you have left the motorway and act accordingly. Once you have left the motorway, remember to bring your speed down to the appropriate speed limit. The only way of judging your speed correctly is by using your speedometer. Do not rely on your assessment of speed because you are very likely to be wrong.
BREAKDOWNS ON MOTORWAYS
If your vehicle develops, problems while driving try to get off the motorway or into a service area. Or else, try to stop as near to an emergency telephone as soon as possible and use it rather than a mobile phone so that the emergency services can identify where you are. When you stop, use your hazard warning lights you need not use any warning devices, as this is considered dangerous.
Do not leave the vehicle by the door facing the carriageway. You are recommended not to stay inside your car unless you feel in danger outside it. If you are not able to clear the carriageway with your vehicle, the Department of the Environment advises you to stay in your vehicle with your seatbelts on unless you feel sure that you can clear the carriageway yourself.
On no account should you attempt any repair on a motorway without the assistance of the emergency services?
HARD SHOULDERS In some Active Traffic Management areas ATM. The Hard shoulder can be used when a lane has been closed due to Lane Maintenance or a Breakdown. Remember if you see a Red Cross over a Lane you must not use the lane.
Over the next few years, you will start to see New Highway Traffic officers who will be responsible for the Motorway networks around the country.
FINALLY, although there are not any motorways locally, it is strongly recommended that after passing your test, if you can afford it; contact a Qualified ADI about extra motorway training.