IAM: Young drivers must be allowed on motorways

18th June 2013

Ahead of a green paper on learning to drive, experts are stressing that allowing young drivers on motorways is an integral part of providing a rounded motoring education.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) claims learners must allowed to gain early motoring experience and is calling on the government to ensure any new system includes allowing supervised young drivers onto the motorway.

This is hoped to enable learners to avoid some of the most common mistakes made by many drivers when on the motorway, such as driving too close and centre lane hogging.

In the UK, only a minority of drivers have had any instruction on how to use the motorway and have learned by building up experience and making errors.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Human error is the main contributory factor in 71 per cent of injury crashes on motorways and surveys suggest drivers often lack confidence on motorway use.  

"This measure, plus widely available refresher and modular courses on motorway driving should be encouraged to help everyone use them from a position of knowledge and confidence. The outcome should be fewer incidents, fewer injuries and fewer delays."

However, should learner and young drivers be encouraged to gain motorway experience, a solid background on vehicle maintenance should also be introduced.

Motorway driving puts different types of strain on a vehicle and a malfunction at 70mph is harder to deal with than one at 30mph.

Tyre condition is one area particularly important for motorway driving. Before embarking on a trip, motorists should learn how to identify if the tread depth and pressure are correct.

A tread below 1.6mm across three quarters of the width of the tyre increases stopping distance and puts a vehicle at risk of aquaplaning.

Similarly, tyres that aren't at the correct pressure for the individual vehicle in question will have poor grip – increasing the risk of skid.

While such an eventuality is dangerous on any road, when travelling at speed on a motorway, a skid is bad news.

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