Highway Driving Safety
Reed Berry (Driving Expert) gives expert video advice on: What is the safest way to merge onto a freeway?; What is the safest way to pass a car on the highway?; What do I do if I miss my exit on a freeway? and more...
Are highways and freeways more dangerous than surface streets?
Driving on the freeways, contrary to popular belief, is actually safer than driving on surface streets. Because on the freeway, you're going at a constant speed. You're generally staying in one lane on the freeway unless you're changing to another, whereas on surface streets you're making turns, you're crossing intersections, so about 86% of traffic collisions occur on surface streets, while about 14% occur on the freeways.
What is the safest way to merge onto a freeway?
The safest way to merge onto a freeway or interstate is get on the on-ramp - the acceleration lane - and enter at about the same speed as freeway traffic. Some people think you can enter the freeway at the speed limit but you can't always do that because traffic isn't always driving at the speed limit. As you come up the acceleration lane, get on about the same speed as freeway or interstate traffic is moving; look over your shoulder, always use your mirrors and then safely move into the lane of traffic.
When I'm merging onto a freeway, do I have the right of way?
When you're merging onto a freeway or interstate, the cars already on the freeway have the right of way, you do not. So it's up to you as the merging party to be observant, check for traffic in the lane you're planning to merge into and make sure no one's there, because if you do get into a collision with a car that's already on the freeway or interstate, it will be your fault because they have the right of way in that situation.
What is the safest way to pass a car on the highway?
If you plan to pass a car on the highway, first of all make sure you have plenty of space to do it. A lot of people think they have enough space when in reality they don't and it's going to take about 10-12 seconds in time to pass another car. It takes about a third of a mile in distance to pass another vehicle and if you are approaching a curb, chances are you can't overtake. At least you can't tell them you can do it so get behind the car you plan to pass until you can see far enough ahead to make sure you can pass safely and then you can execute that maneuver.
What is an "exit ramp"?
When you're driving on a freeway or interstate and you're planning to exit, you have to use a little ramp provided for you called the exit ramp. Now, an important thing to remember is there could be other people there on the exit ramp. So, watch out for other cars, watch for other people that may have the same idea as you: to exit at that point. To avoid getting in a collision, move over, put on your blinker change lanes safely, and exit the highway at that point.
What is a "deceleration lane"?
When you're driving on a freeway or interstate and you're planning to get off at the next exit, you're going to have to go from freeway speeds down to exit speeds. The way to do that is by using the lane provided for you just prior to the exit ramp, and that's called the deceleration lane. That allows you to decelerate to the proper speed, so as not to exit the freeway or interstate at an unsafe speed, which could result in a possible rollover of your vehicle.
What is the safest way to exit a freeway?
The safest way to exit a freeway or interstate is to slow down to a safe exit speed. Suggested exit speeds are generally posted on exit ramps; make sure you decelerate to that speed because if you take the turns or the exit ramps from the freeway a little too quickly it could cause you to lose control of the vehicle or in some cases could actually result in a vehicle rollover.
What do I do if I miss my exit on a freeway?
People do sometimes miss their exit on the freeway, and I don't know why. Maybe they are thinking about other things and they miss their exit on the freeway or interstate. Don't back up if you miss you exit. Don't stop in a lane trying to figure out what to do if you miss you exit. Simply go to the next exit. It may take a few extra seconds to do that, maybe add another minute or two to your drive, when you've missed your exit, but it would be a lot safer and a lot less inconvenient than getting a ticket and having to pay a big fine or possibly end up in a traffic school class.