Driving on Highways
Approaches to Safe HIghway Driving

Approaches to Safe Highway Driving: Minimizing The Risks

Updated Aug. 14, 2020

Despite occurring far less frequently, collisions on highways are usually more severe than collisions on other roads. When high speeds are involved, the chances of a collision resulting in fatalities are much greater. Making a mistake on a highway could cost you your life.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash statistics from 2013 reflect the heightened danger of driving on high-speed roads. The figures show that 21 percent of all fatal collisions in that year took place on highways with a speed limit of 60 mph or above, despite collisions on these roads only accounting for 10 percent of all collisions which took place nationwide.

These are frightening statistics but thankfully there is a lot you can do to protect yourself while driving on high-speed roads. Check out our safe highway driving tips:

  1. 1

    Stay alert.
    Minimize distractions and do not drive when fatigued.

  2. 2

    Steer gently.
    Don't make any sudden maneuvers when traveling at high speeds.

  3. 3

    Always signal before changing lanes and make sure you have enough space.
    Never move over more than one lane at a time.

  4. 4

    Be aware of other vehicles trying to merge onto the highway via the entry ramp.
    If possible, move over to an adjacent lane to give them room.

  5. 5

    Never drive in another vehicle’s blind spots.
    The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spots.

  6. 6

    Leave a larger following distance behind large vehicles and vulnerable road users.
    This pertains to trucks, buses and motorcyclists.

  7. 7

    Be aware that traveling at high-speed means you must scan for hazards further ahead on the roadway.
    This will help to compensate for your longer total stopping distance. Most driving handbooks recommend scanning 20 to 30 seconds ahead.

When traveling long-distance or using a freeway, always try to plan out your journey ahead of time – particularly if you are a less-experienced driver. If you know the approximate distance you will need to travel and have any route numbers you will need noted down, the chances of you over-shooting your exit are greatly reduced. Attempting to make a last-minute merge into the deceleration lane because your exit has taken you by surprise is extremely dangerous.

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Driving in Heavy Traffic

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Heavy Traffic at Intersections

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Heavy Traffic on Multi-lane Roads

Driving on busy, multi-lane roads requires constant vigilance. With traffic and potential hazards in-front, behind and on both sides of your vehicle, the risk of an accident or collision occurring is high. At a moment’s notice, you must be ready to alter your speed or lane position to avoid danger.

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Turns on Multi-lane Roads

Making turns at intersections on multi-lane roads is a little more complicated than it is at dual-lane intersections. Multi-lane intersections often have additional lanes or dedicated “turn lanes” for motorists wishing to turn. The risk of conflict with other motorists when turning from one multi-lane road onto another multi-lane road is high. You can mitigate this risk by yielding to all other traffic crossing the intersection before executing the turn.

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Driving on Highways

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Understanding Highways

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