posted 6 years ago

Motorway Driving Tips

Great news. The Institute of Advanced Motorists has revealed potentially life saving tips for driving on the motorway in the dark.

Great news. The Institute of Advanced Motorists has revealed potentially life saving tips for driving on the motorway in the dark. This, I suspect, is for two reasons. Firstly, motorists tend to have no more than eight hours of daylight in the winter months. As such millions travel huge distances in poor visibility. Secondly - according to the Department for Transport - 20.3% of motorised traffic was on motorways in 2011. That is remarkable considering the network accounts for only 0.9% of the UK's 245,000 miles of road. Furthermore, it seems that motorway drivers frequently take liberties with the speed limit. As such, 49% of car traffic was speeding in 2011 with 13% at 80mph or above. And it was not just cars. 49% of motorcycle traffic sped rising to 50% of light goods vehicles. Dealing with speeders and other hazards can be particularly tricky in poor light, so let us consider the Institute of Advanced Motorists' easy to follow tips:

- “Many stretches of motorway are not lit during hours of darkness. To improve your view as far as possible keep your lights, mirrors and windscreen clean. Make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear.

- Watch for tell-tale brake lights up ahead to foresee any changes in traffic speed or queues which you may be joining.

- Driving in the dark can cause fatigue. Plan your journey, scheduling at least one stop every two hours.

- Don’t ignore warning signs of fatigue. In extreme cases, have a caffeine drink and sleep for 20 minutes while it takes effect. You can only do this once per journey - it won’t have the same effect if you do it more than once.

- Share the driving if possible.

- If you break down, pull over on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as you can, pointing your wheels in towards the kerb.

- When stopped on the hard shoulder, leave your vehicle and get as far away from the road as possible, behind the crash barrier, and up the bank if there is one.”

Simon Elstow, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, added: “Although motorways are our safest roads, darkness brings with it additional challenges which increase the risk of fatal accidents.” Mr Elstow concluded: “Plan your journey from beginning to end and take necessary precautions to keep yourself safe.”

The UK's first motorway was the Preston Bypass which was opened by the Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, on December 5th 1958. This historic route ran past Preston from Bamber Bridge which is south of the city, to Broughton in the north. It was approximately 8 miles long, had two lanes in each direction, and a hedge in the central reservation to prevent motorists being dazzled by oncoming headlights. Two extra lanes – one in each direction – were added in the sixties and much later work increased its capacity to 8. These now form part of the M6, so the Preston Bypass has evolved beyond recognition since Harold Macmillan's day. Is that great news?