Uncertainty around what is legal on the motorway can be compounded by the fact that it isn’t mandatory to have motorway driving lessons. This can lead to gaps in understanding, self-confidence and driving ability. With this in mind, here are some myths of the motorway busted.
Right Hand Lane
Myth: Any vehicle can use the right hand lane.
Truth: If you are driving a car with a trailer attached, or you are behind the wheel of a heavy goods vehicle with a maximum laden weight over 7.5 tonnes, it is forbidden for you to motor along in the right hand lane of the motorway.
Left Hand Land
Myth: The left hand lane, or ‘slow lane’, is the lane for trucks.
Truth: All motorists should keep left at all times, unless overtaking. If the road is clear, stay in the left lane. This is also applicable if you are driving via the middle lane, which is against the law to use, unless you are overtaking.
Myth: There is no set national speed limit on the motorway.
Truth: This is utterly false. Many motorists believe that you can legally drive at 80 or 90 mph. The speed limit is 70 mph, and 60 mph for vehicles more than 7.5 tonnes, or for cars towing a trailer or caravan.
Myth: If your car breaks down at the edge of the motorway and there is a pet in the car, you can take it out of the vehicle.
Truth: It is commonly known that if your car breaks down on the motorway, and you pull up onto the hard shoulder, that all occupants should get out of the car. You should then stay safe and sound behind the motorway barrier and not attempt to re-enter your vehicle. However, perhaps astonishingly to some, this truth is not the same for animals. Your pet should stay in your vehicle; in case it should run out onto the motorway and cause and accident.
Myth: You can pull up onto the hard shoulder of the motorway if you are poorly or need the loo.
Truth: A motorway’s hard shoulder is for real emergencies only. This includes a car breaking down, and if you are required to pull over by the police, or if you are guided to do so by signage. Many motorists, however, think you are legally allowed to stop if you, or a fellow vehicle occupant, feels ill, or has to use the toilet. But, because of the safety risk that pulling onto the hard shoulder presents, this is not the case at all. If you are busting for the loo or feel sick, you should carry on to the next motorway exit, and stop when you can find somewhere safe and lawful to park.