This is one of the biggest shake-up of driver training since the revised test was introduced in December 2017. In all seriousness this is a real change for driver training in Great Britain and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lots of organisations and individuals.
Commenting on the changes in his role as NASP chair Peter Harvey MSA GB chairman said:
“The partners in NASP are very pleased to see that learner drivers are, at last, being allowed to drive on motorways. Driver trainers have been campaigning for many years to be able to teach learner drivers the vital skills needed on motorways before they pass their driving tests.
“We have been preparing for this announcement for quite some time and have been and continue offering advice and training to our members on best practice when they take novice drivers on to a motorway for the first time.
“We have produced guidelines which are available on the NASP website. We are keen to emphasis to driver trainers that they should only take learners on to motorways when the learner is ready. Learner drivers should not expect their instructor to be giving them motorway training until they are ‘TEST READY’.”
The guidelines that Peter talks about can be downloaded from the NASP website and include advice about what Learners need to understand about how motorways work. It is important for ADIs to offer reassurance to nervous pupils about going out onto the motorway. One of the principal objectives of allowing learners onto motorways is to encourage the ten percent of new drivers that don’t use them that they are much safer on a motorway than they are on a rural road as only 4% of crashes happen on motorways.
When they do occur however they tend to be serious because of the speeds involved. Learners will need to be reminded that there are different rules that apply on motorways. The Highway Code has specific rules (253-273) though many of the other rules apply to motorway driving too.
It is also suggested that an initial discussion or briefing be carried out with the learner before any practical on road motorway session begins. It is also recommended that such practical training takes place near to the end of a learner’s pre-test training when they are “TEST READY” and when all other aspects of driving have been covered and they are at a competent level where they can drive unaided.
It is essential to ensure that any learner driving on a motorway is “TEST READY” and in full control of the vehicle, aware of the requirements of motorway driving, and confident in dealing with fast moving traffic situations. Depending on where the learner is located, it may be useful to consider a 2 or 3-hour session if practical, this would also help students become more aware of driver fatigue and tiredness.
It is also important to check the speed rating of your top box. Most can be used at high speed, but it is advisable to check with the manufacturer about the maximum rated speed. Trainers should also consider that magnets become less powerful at the higher temperatures of summer use; high winds can affect roof sign stability; and as signs age this can also affect their quality. Perhaps you should treat yourself and buy a new top box every time you change your vehicle.
This long awaited common-sense change is just around the corner make sure you are prepared.
Some of the skill requirements mentioned in the NASP Motorway Tuition Guidelines: • Effective observation; Good anticipation; Effective use of mirrors; Continual re-assessment of other vehicles; Reading the road ahead; Joining from slip roads, judgement of speed and position of other vehicles; Following distances; Safe overtaking; Courtesy to other road users.