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Highway Safety Tips for Inexperienced Drivers

  • By Craig Kidwell
  • 10 Mar, 2021

Highway driving can be dangerous for inexperienced drivers. Below are some tips to help such drivers stay safe on the highway.

Stay in the Right Lane

Always stay in the right lane unless overtaking. Overtaking, especially as an inexperienced driver, increases the risk of a mishap. Hogging the left lane might frustrate the other drivers, especially those who want to use it for overtaking.

Leave Adequate Space for Maneuvering

Leave adequate space between you and the car in front. You need the space for different maneuvers, such as lane changes. Adequate space also allows you to stop in time in case the car in front abruptly stops. Other drivers will also appreciate you not tailgating them, especially if they have to slow down in an emergency.

Give at least three seconds of space between you and the car in front. However, this is the bare minimum, and a little more can help. Some people recommend four to six seconds, especially for inexperienced drivers.

Maintain a Wide Viewpoint

Inexperienced drivers tend to focus on the road immediately in front of them. Such a narrow viewpoint can be dangerous, especially on highways with fast vehicles. Broaden your viewpoint to capture as much of the surroundings. Include the road ahead, adjacent lanes, and your rear. Use the side and rearview mirrors.

The wide viewpoint can help you notice and avoid road dangers in time. The wide viewpoint will also help you adjust your driving style to match the prevailing road conditions. For example, if you notice multiple trucks ahead, you can slow down or plan a lane change in time.

Keep Up With Traffic Flow

Highway driving safety requires you to keep up with the general traffic speed. Don't drive faster or slower than the prevailing traffic flow. Keeping up with the traffic flow requires you to:

  • Accelerate quickly after merging
  • Adjust your speed or change lanes to allow other drivers to join the highway
  • Reduce speed in inclement weather, such as during snowfall

On the highway, driving too slow can just be as dangerous as overspeeding.

Avoid Unnecessary Lane Changes

As an inexperienced driver, pick one lane and stick to it. Avoid the temptation to switch lanes, even if adjacent lanes seem empty or enticing. If you do have to change lanes, use your turn signals to alert other drivers to your intentions.

Don't Stop or Back Up

Never stop on the highway, even for emergency vehicles. If you need to give way to an emergency vehicle, move to the right as far as you can so that the emergency vehicle has ample room on the left. In case an emergency requires you to stop, pull over to the shoulder and turn on your hazards.

You should also never back on the highway. Vehicles coming in at highway speeds might not notice you reversing in time. If you need to go back, for example, after missing an exit, continue driving until the next exit so that you can drive back.

Master Sharing the Road With Semis

Lastly, know how to share the road with large trucks before you drive on the highway. Some helpful tips for sharing the road with semis include the following:

  • Leave more room than usual since trucks need more time and space to maneuver.
  • Accelerate and overtake fast if you have to — don't linger alongside the truck.
  • Don't linger in a truck's blind spot. If you can't see the truck's mirrors, then the truck driver probably can't see you.

The main thing to note is that trucks are long, heavy, and make wide turns.

In case of an accident, ensure everyone is safe, preserve evidence, and wait for the police to arrive before you leave the accident scene. Contact Kidwell & Gallagher Injury Lawyers if you are involved in an accident. We will review the circumstances surrounding the crash and help you seek relevant damages.

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