Sophie from Southsea becomes one of the first learner motorway drivers

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MANY motorists avoid motorway driving at all costs - but Sophie Cotton could not wait to get her first taste of the M275.

The 25-year-old learner from Southsea booked a lesson late on Sunday night so she could be one of the first with L-plates to go on a motorway after the law changed at midnight - hitting the M275 at 12.01am yesterday.

Sophie Cotton on the motorway

Sophie Cotton on the motorway

Sophie, who was with her driving instructor from Driving Pro, Liam Greaney said: ‘The lesson was fine as it is not any different skills to what you would do normally but I don’t know if I would feel so relaxed at rush hour.’

The 25-year-old from Southsea has been learning to drive for a year and welcomes the new change.

She said: ‘It is definitely a good thing as it is safer to learn with an instructor.

‘My mum does not drive on the motorway in Portsmouth and I think I would have shied away from it but with the instructor I feel safer.’

Sophie Cotton with her dad Dave and driving instructor Liam Greaney

Sophie Cotton with her dad Dave and driving instructor Liam Greaney

Sophie has another motorway lesson with Liam on Thursday but will be taking on the challenge of rush hour. She added: ‘I hope people on the motorway are kind and understanding to learners if they are changing lanes slowly or not quite up to speed as they need to remember everyone was learner once.’

Instructor Liam said: ‘This is something that many of us in the profession have been waiting for.

‘It has been a long time coming and most definitely the right thing to do to make sure learner drivers have more confidence.’

The 63-year-old has been teaching driving for 10 years and was excited to be a part of the new law coming into action.

‘I think we are one of the first to have a lesson on the motorway which is sure to give me some bragging rights at work.

‘But more importantly it means young people get a more realistic driving experience as if you were going from the city towards Fareham you would take the motorway rather than going through North End and such.’

The law change was announced in August meaning learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales are able to go on the motorway in a dual-control car with an approved instructor.

Liam added: ‘I hope young drivers will feel more comfortable going on the motorway as that is the most common thing people are worried about and to be told one day you can’t drive on the motorway, and then having had no practice the next day being allowed is mad. This law is a great step forward.’