Cheshire driving instructors geared up for motorway learners
Driving instructors from south Cheshire have become the latest to benefit from a Highways England initiative designed to boost motorway safety among newly-qualified drivers.
Learner drivers accompanied by approved instructors were allowed to drive on motorways for the first time almost a year ago in a law change pioneered by Highways England and designed to give newly-qualified drivers greater confidence of taking to the motorways after passing their driving test.
As part of the changes, the government company – responsible for repairing, maintaining, improving and operating the country’s motorways – has also been running a project to develop closer links with the instructor community through a programme of visits to its network of regional operations centres (ROCs). Approved driving instructors from Crewe, Nantwich and other south Cheshire communities visited the North West regional operations centre at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside, last month (April).
Highways England traffic officer Gary Reece (left) with approved driving instructors from south Cheshire
Maggie Carter, Highways England’s operations manager for strategic safety, said:
“Our regional control centres are the nerve centres of the motorway network. These visits are designed to help prepare instructors as they start to take learners out onto motorways and sharpen their focus on the way our motorways are changing – including the arrival of smart motorways – and an appreciation of the work our uniformed traffic officers do to keep drivers on the move.”
Driving instructor trainer Emma Newell, chairperson of Crewe and Nantwich approved driving instructors’ group, led last month’s visit to the North West ROC. They were shown one of Highways England’s hi-visibility four wheel drive vehicles and got to see the kit traffic officers carry. They were also able to quiz control room traffic officers on how they keep the regional motorway network running, including monitoring traffic conditions and setting electronic signs.
“Our visit was truly informative. I think we all went away with a little more knowledge of what makes our motorways tick and we’ll be passing that onto to any learners we take out onto the M6 in Cheshire – including the newly-opened smart motorway section.”
Emma Newell (left) with other south Cheshire ADIs finding out all about Highways England’s traffic officer service
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) emphasises that motorway lessons give learner drivers the confidence, skills and experience they need to use motorways safely. During lessons, learner drivers get training on:
•how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly
•using smart motorways correctly
•driving at high speed in motorway conditions
•motorway-specific traffic signs
•what to do if a vehicle breaks down on a motorway