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Teaching Motorways

November 4, 20140 Comments

Video Transcript


In this blog I will be talking about motorways. This subject keeps coming up and just recently it has been discussed if motorway lessons should be compulsory and on test routes etc. The bottom line is that I don’t really think it matters. This is just my personal opinion. If it were to be made compulsory for test then that would be a problem for rural test centres and this would become a major issue. So I don’t think it is going to happen. There has been talk of ‘super test centres’ since I became a driving instructor many years ago so I really don’t think this is ever going to happen. It was discussed in October last year that learner drivers should have motorway lessons but, again, this has never happened.

But what can we do as instructors? Let’s forget legislation and forget what they should or shouldn’t do on test. Let’s not let the legislators decide on what we can do as instructors. You could offer a pupil that books 20 hours with you a free motorway lesson once they have passed their test. Of course, we know that the pupil may not turn up for this lesson.

What I would suggest is trying to get some motorway lessons within some normal driving. Yes, I am aware that they cannot drive on motorways but they can drive on dual carriageways. If you have a dual carriageway near you that has two or more lanes and slip roads then you can use these even if they don’t have hard shoulders. You can talk about hard shoulders in theory. If your dual carriageway does not have a hard shoulder then this is even more of an opportunity to discuss what would happen if they were to breakdown etc.   So basically, use any type of dual carriageways that have short slip roads, roundabouts that appear and all of the road users that you can think of. Also make use of a dual carriageway that merges or separates and they have to change lanes, for example the A31 up near where I am, you have to change from number 1 lane to number 3 lane within half a mile to carry on your journey.   If your pupil can do this type of road then they will gain a good understanding of how to drive on a motorway.

Statistically, dual carriageways are much more dangerous to drive on than motorways so I am not sure why our industry gets bogged down with teaching motorways when we could be teaching dual carriageways correctly which will make motorways a piece of cake. Yes there are variables but they tend to be safer things than more dangerous things. I cannot think of anything that would be more dangerous on a motorway than it would be on a dual carriageway.

So go and do dual carriageways with your pupils. If you are thinking ‘oh it’s alright for you, I don’t have any dual carriageways near me’ then go and find some. You could get two or three pupils together and say to them that you are offering a dual carriageway lesson. The appropriate road may be an hour away so you could offer these people a four or five hour lesson and they could split the cost. This way you can get out to the area with the urban dual carriageways with shorter slip roads, the faster dual carriageways where you have laybys and your pupils can pull in and then show them how difficult it is to pull out again. Go and do these things so if you get a group of pupils together then they can split the cost due to the lesson being longer.

Think about it; be logical about it and come up with a plan rather than waiting for legislation to tell us how to teach properly. Let’s go and teach these things with what we have already because what we have is good enough.

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About the Author ()

Blaine Walsh is the owner of, has been a driving instructor trainer for 15 years and a driving instructor for over 20 years. When he first qualified Blaine admits his was not a very good instructor, became disillusioned, was not retaining pupils and not making any money, so he quit full time teaching. After spending time self-reflecting, he had a light bulb moment and realised that he needed to put more explanation, effort and enthusiasm into teaching learners. Since then he has not looked back and is now regarded as one of the top trainers in the country.

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