Photo by qwesy qwesy/Wikimedia Commons.
VIDEO: Freeway Merging and Lane Changes
Some states call them freeways, while other states refer to them as expressways. Those with tolls are sometimes called turnpikes. But regardless of what you call them, these high-speed, controlled-access highways require a driver’s undivided attention and quick decision making.
Here are seven tips on freeway driving, provided by AAA:
- Try to look ahead at least 12 seconds to make sure you are alert to changing traffic and road conditions such as roadwork, congestion, heavy traffic, slow traffic, or stop-and-go traffic.
- Always signal at least five seconds before changing lanes. Look carefully and check your mirrors — both inside and outside rearview mirrors. And, look over your shoulder in the direction of the lane change.
- Avoid any sudden moves. Sudden moves are usually not well planned or checked, and do not give other drivers adequate time to react.
- Help other drivers enter and exit the freeway or change lanes. Adjust your speed or move to the next lane if it is clear.
- Drive in the lane that is best suited to the traffic conditions. On a two-lane freeway, use the right lane for cruising and the left lane for passing. When there are three or more lanes, use the right lane if you are traveling at a slower speed than traffic, the left lane for passing, and the center lane for cruising.
- Do not be distracted or slow down excessively to look at incidents in or near the roadway. This adds to congestion and increases the potential for additional incidents. (Distractions can also come from the sky, as this video shows.)
- Choose a legal speed that matches the flow of traffic. Speeds that are too slow or too fast will increase the risk of incidents.
For more AAA advice on freeway driving, click here to download a brochure.