From 4th June 2018, learner drivers holding provisional licences will be able to drive on the motorways. The new law will allow learners in England, Wales and Scotland to take voluntary motorway driving lessons. They will have to be accompanied by a qualified instructor and be in a vehicle with dual controls and learner identification plates.
If you recall the time when you were first learning to drive, you may have felt some trepidation coupled with excitement. For my own part, I looked forward to my £7 weekly driving lesson because I would get behind the wheel of a shiny new Mini Metro and drive at a heady 40mph on the local dual carriageway. As I tootled around the streets of my home town, I hoped my sixth form pals would see me whizzing by at 10mph and would imagine having the tape player on loud and my elbow on the window ledge, singing along to whatever was number 1 in the charts in 1989!
But what if my instructor had then directed me to join the M40 at the nearest junction? Exiting onto the inside carriageway and speeding up so as to join at a suitable speed would have taken things to a new level. That said, those learning days are arguably the time when the best taught driving takes place and the rules of the road are adhered to. In any event, once the test is passed, you can merrily go onto any motorway without supervision. It is therefore arguably a good thing for drivers to obtain lessons on how to deal with our three lane system and the smart motorways that are becoming more commonplace.
It is though worth bearing in mind that drivers under training will be on the road and employed professional drivers should be informed of this law change if you run any form of commercial or car fleet. If you see a learner vehicle, give it some consideration and remember how you felt when you practiced your parallel parking on a quiet side street… a far cry from navigating today's motorway complexities.