When it comes to driving everyone learns at their own speed. (Pun intended.) Some get their learner’s permit the day they turn 15. Others wait a few months, or even years, before getting behind the wheel. In the end, it’s all about mind over matter.
Remember: Driving is fun! It gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want. But learning to drive is a process. It takes time, dedication, and most importantly practice. New drivers often prefer to stick to parking lots, back roads, and side streets. However, there comes a time in every driver’s life when they need to embrace a faster route of transportation: the highway.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when learning the art of highway driving:
Time It Right
It may seem obvious to the experienced driver but, thanks to stereotypes, new drivers may not understand that the highway is not a constant traffic jam. For your first time hitting the highway, follow one simple rule: Avoid rush hour. Rush Hour is when the highway is most congested. Choose a time and a day when traffic is slowest, like a weekday afternoon when most people are at work.
Left vs Right
As soon as you merge onto the highway you’re in the right lane. This lane may be the slowest lane, but it also the busiest as cars continuously enter and exit the highway. The far left lane is predominately used for passing other cars. Driving slow in the left lane can not only congest traffic but can also become dangerous for other cars who need to suddenly adjust their speed and slow down. For your first time on the highway, stick to the right lane and gradually work on merging into nearby lanes as you grow comfortable.
Your blinker is more than just a decoration. It’s a signal. An alert to communicate with other drivers how you plan to maneuver your vehicle. Always use your blinker to alert other cars you intend to switch lanes. After you turn your signal on, check your mirrors for oncoming traffic. It’s beneficial to also turn your head quickly to check for any blind spots. After you know the road is clear, commit to the switch. Give yourself plenty of distance and gradually move your car into the next lane.
The people in your car can be just as distracting as texting because they divert your attention from what you should be focusing on: The road. New drivers, especially young drivers, should limit the number of passengers when driving on the highway for the first time. Avoid other distractions by putting your phone on silent, turning off the radio, and putting purses, jackets, and other loose items in the back seat.
Highway driving may seem like a momentous step but take it slow, remember these tips, and you’re bound for success.