Road types (skills 21 to 23)

21. Country roads

Country roads vary from trunk roads, carrying heavy traffic, to narrow lanes, where there’s only room for single-file traffic.

Unless signs show otherwise, the national speed limit will apply. This limit is the top speed you may drive, it doesn’t always mean that it’s safe to drive at that speed. Always adjust your speed for hazards, other traffic and the road and weather conditions.

You should be able to deal with:

  • poor visibility due to bends, hedgerows and steep roadsides
  • gradients and camber
  • junctions and entrances
  • vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders
  • slow-moving agricultural machinery
  • darkness and various weather conditions

You need to know:

  • the mirrors – signal – manoeuvre (MSM) and position – speed – look (PSL) routines
  • what the different road signs mean
  • the importance of forward planning
  • how to scan ahead to anticipate hazards that could be just out of sight
  • how to use passing places

22. Dual carriageways

Some dual carriageways share the same speed limit as motorways. You also join some dual carriageways from a slip road, the same way you would join a motorway.

Unlike a motorway, though, dual carriageways can have junctions and roundabouts. Traffic can join, leave, cross and turn right from the carriageway.

You should to be able to:

  • drive safely on urban and rural dual carriageways and clearways
  • join a dual carriageway
  • choose the correct lane
  • turn right off a dual carriageway

You must know:

  • the MSM and PSL routines
  • the various speed limits that may be used on dual carriageways
  • how to respond to advance warning and information signs
  • what you should do if the car breaks down, including the use of hazard warning lights and warning triangles
  • how the weather can affect driving on dual carriageways

23. Motorways

Although motorway driving isn’t part of the practical driving test, learners can have driving lessons on motorways. These must be with an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a car fitted with dual controls that’s clearly displaying L plates.

The Highway Code has specific rules about motorway driving, though many of the other rules apply to motorway driving too. Your driving instructor will be able to tell you when you’re ready to take lessons on the motorway. It’s recommended that this only takes place near the end of your training, when you’re ready to take your driving test.

You should know how to:

  • join and leave motorways, using acceleration and deceleration lanes
  • use your mirrors effectively
  • look and plan further ahead than you would on single carriageways
  • respond to other road users
  • use the correct lane
  • keep a safe separation distance
  • respond to signals, road signs and markings
  • avoid fatigue, and use service areas
  • overtake
  • deal with side winds and turbulence
  • recognise and use smart motorways
  • deal with contraflows and roadworks
  • deal with accidents and breakdowns
  • use the hard shoulder

Not feeling completely prepared?

Only take your driving test if you’re feeling completely prepared.

You can move your driving test back if you’re not feeling quite ready yet.

It’s free to change your appointment time, as long as you do it at least 3 full working days (Mondays to Saturdays) before your test.

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