Driving on a dual carriageway
Driving on a dual carriageway is similar to driving on a motorway, except it usually has just has two lanes!. Dual carriageways are often constructed where an A road previously used to get 'bottlenecks' from increased traffic levels. The extra lane is added to allow faster vehicles to get past lorries and other slower vehicles and thus help avoid the possibility of congestion.
How do I know if I'm on a dual carriageway?
This can sometimes be confusing as some roads have more than one lane, but they are not dual carriageways!
If the road has 2 or more lanes in one direction and 1 or more lanes in the opposite direction, and they are separated by 2 unbroken lines - this is NOT a dual carriageway.
A dual carriageway is defined as 2 or more lanes in one direction with 2 or more lanes in the opposite direction, separated by a central reservation. Motorways obviously have similar characteristics but are usually clearly marked as such on entry.
Be courteous at junctions
Like on motorways, there is an 'unwritten rule' that most polite motorists obey when approaching a slip road/junction in the left hand lane of a dual carriageway. If you notice that a vehicle is approaching the junction to join the dual carriageway, check your mirrors and your blind spot and if it is safe to do so, move into the right hand lane. This allows the approaching vehicle to join the carriageway without slowing down.
If it is not safe to move out of your lane, then stay where you are. Sometimes it's possible to slow down just enough for them to slip in ahead of you, however don't put yourself or the driver behind at risk to do this - they may just have to wait.
Most people observe this simple courteous rule and hope that the favour will be returned many times over in the future. At the end of the day, this simple act of politeness helps everyone because it keeps traffic flowing - and that it is always a good thing!
Dual Carriageway lane protocol
Again the rules for dual carriageways and motorways are similar. On a 2 lane dual carriageway you should spend most of the time in the left hand lane. The right hand lane should only be used for overtaking or turning right where you are permitted to do so. You must return to the left hand lane when you have completed your overtaking manoeuvre.
On a 3 lane carriageway the 2 extra lanes can both be used for overtaking and once again you should return to the left hand lane when you have completed your manoeuvre. Like on a motorway, you should not be tempted to hog the middle lane as this can cause frustration to those behind you who want to use the lane correctly.
The speed limits on dual carriageways will depend on their location and the amount of traffic they have to deal with. Generally in non-urban areas the maximum speed limit is 70mph. However this limit may be set at a lower level if it is in a built up area - so take notice of the road signs.
Keep your distance!
The general rule to remember is to keep at least 2 seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This distance is just a rough guide and should be increased significantly if you are travelling faster than 50mph upwards. This is of course will need to be increased even further in foggy, icy or wet weather conditions.
The general rule to remember is to keep (at least) 2 seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This distance is just a rough guide and should be increased significantly if you are traveling faster than 50mph upwards. This is of course will need to be increased even further in foggy, icy or wet weather conditions.
Accidents on dual carriageways
Because the speeds tend to be higher on these types of roads then accidents can often be very serious and involve several vehicles. Many people still continue to drive at speeds that are inappropriate for the roads they are on and the weather conditions. Always drive within the speed limits of the road you are travelling on and adjust them downwards when weather conditions deteriorate.
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