Brush Up on These Highway Driving Tips
No matter where you live and travel, it’s important to drive safely on the highway. After all, these fast-paced roads come with their own set of challenges. So, when you hit any interstate, keep these highway driving safety tips in mind.
Watch Your Speed
Highway speed limits can range from 50 mph (in the District of Columbia) to 85 mph (in Texas), according to Road and Track magazine. So, you’ll want to observe speed limits to be sure you’re traveling at the posted limit in good driving conditions. Speeding endangers everyone on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Remember, adjust your speed when driving through inclement weather like ice, rain and snow, as well as construction and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Nobody likes being tailgated and, on top of that, it’s risky. If the driver in front of you has to come to a quick stop, following too closely could have dangerous consequences. Instead, maintain a safe following distance from the car ahead of you (especially if roads are slick). You should leave at least 3 seconds between you and the car or motorcycle in front of you, according to the NHSTA.
Sharing the Road With Semis
Highway driving means sharing the roads with plenty of semi-trucks. There are 3.2 million truck drivers in the U.S., with each of them averaging about 45,000 miles a year, according to Popular Mechanics Magazine. When sharing highways with these large trucks, be sure to give plenty of room when passing and merging in front of them and use your blinker. According to the Women In Trucking Association, look for the big side mirrors on a truck’s door, and remember if you cannot see the trucker, they cannot see you. Cutting off a semi-truck can cause the trucker to have to brake suddenly, which may cause them to lose control.
In some states, the left lane is considered the passing lane, so if you’re not overtaking a slower-moving vehicle, stay in the right lane, says U.S. News and World Report. Some interstates have signs posted to enforce this rule, and in some cases you may be pulled over and ticketed if you’re camping out in the left lane.
Maximize Your Visibility
A good view from the driver’s seat may help ensure your safety, and it’s also important to make sure that other drivers can see you. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles advises to turn on your headlights when the sun sets or when driving through adverse weather conditions, like rain, sleet, snow and fog.
Safe driving starts with you, so don’t get distracted by things like your smartphone or eating food. Instead, give the highway your undivided attention. According to the Insurance Information Institute, activities that take drivers’ attention off the road are a major safety threat.
Many of us pull on to the highway every day as part of our routine, but it’s always a good idea to think about safety before you do. Taking in these helpful reminders can help keep you, and everyone around you, safe on busy highways.
Originally published on November 25, 2013.