The RAC has welcomed the Government’s proposal that motorway driving should be made compulsory for all learner drivers and a key element of the driving test.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “It seems eminently sensible that learner drivers gain valuable experience of driving on the motorway included in their driving lessons before heading out for a life on the road alone.”
In a survey of young drivers in 2014* the RAC found that 86% of learner drivers welcomed the idea of compulsory lessons on motorway driving. A similar figure (89%) felt that they should receive instruction on driving in adverse weather and 94% felt that driving in darkness should also be made compulsory.
“The majority of drivers will readily accept that it is a crazy situation that so much attention is focused on learning to drive on local roads, to follow a sat nav and to parallel park without any requirement for new drivers to experience motorway driving in a controlled manner with a qualified instructor in a dual-controlled vehicle.
“While motorways generally are the UK’s safest roads it is a completely different discipline requiring very different skills from other roads and it should not be down to learner drivers to discover this for themselves without formal training.
“There will inevitably be some practical challenges to overcome with millions of new drivers living a significant distance from their nearest motorway. And night time driving may prove unpopular with some and we all know that the UK weather is notoriously unpredictable. But this should not deter the right intentions and positive benefits for improved safety behind this move.”
* RAC survey of 700 drivers aged 17-25 years and a further 380 new drivers conducted with RED Driving school in January 2014