What Is The Safest Technique To Use When Entering A Freeway?
When you’re in driver ed, one of the most intimidating lessons is learning to enter a freeway. With so many other cars, unpredictable conditions, and high speed, it’s easy to become anxious. But there are some best practices that can be used to help alleviate some of the stress of entering the freeway. In this blog, we’ll go over these practices in detail so you can feel confident.
Steps for A Safe Merge
Before entering a freeway, you want to have a good understanding of what to expect, the steps to take, and how to execute the movements safely. When you merge, get ready to do the following:
- Match freeway speed
- Signal the other cars
- Find a gap in traffic
- Be vigilant
- Keep moving
Match Freeway Speed
This is an important step. Approaching the freeway, you will typically be traveling far slower than the other cars. Take advantage of the acceleration lanes (or entrance ramps) to steadily reach freeway speed.
Keep an eye on your mirrors and watch the other cars as you approach. You may need to adjust your speed–hesitate on the accelerator for a moment, or hit it fast depending on what the other cars are doing in the merging lane. Follow their cues. Usually, someone will let you in.
Signal the Other Cars
Let the other drivers know your intentions early. Put on your indicator so that they can see that you want to enter. Remember that you don’t have the right of way in this situation and must wait for your chance to merge.
Find a Gap in Traffic
When traffic is heavier on the freeway, you’ll have to find a gap to enter. This requires watching for space, keeping up speed to enter the flow of traffic, and keeping an eye on all sides.
When looking to merge, you need to have your attention on the road, but in multiple directions. This is called divided attention and is critical to merging. Watch your mirrors, attend to your speed, find the gap, but also keep an eye in front of you in case someone brakes. While this sounds intimidating, it becomes easier with practice.
When you find that gap between vehicles, it’s time to merge. A large gap is ideal, but you need to work with what you get at this point. Ease into the space, and match your speed to the flow of traffic. Don’t panic, don’t slow down, don’t brake. Just go with the flow, and adhere to the legal speed.
It’s easy to be intimidated by a multi-lane road like a freeway, but once you’ve learned the tricks and practised them on the road, it becomes a smooth process. At LTrent Driving School, we take pride in training drivers of any age. We also offer the NSW Safer Drivers Course for students under 25 and get 20 logbook hours bonus once completed. Contact us to learn more about freeway driving.