Highway Driving Safety
Highway Driving Safety

Highway Driving Safety: Special Considerations for Highway Driving

Updated Aug. 14, 2020

There are additional rules, safety tips and considerations that all drivers must keep in mind when using limited access highways. A great deal can be done to minimize the risk of being involved in a highway accident – though we cannot eliminate that risk altogether. This vital conclusion to our highway driving module reiterates the safe highway driving practices you must adhere to, discusses the importance of planning for your trip and teaches you how to handle an emergency on the highway.

Preparing for the trip

Preparing in advance of a journey is a key safety tactic often overlooked by new motorists. Student drivers focus heavily on safety measures they should employ while using the highway, paying little attention to the precautions they can take beforehand.

Planning out your journey – complete with all road and exit numbers, possible rest stops, gas stations and alternative routes – is the best way to ensure a safe and stress-free trip. Having this information on hand will allow you to focus on driving and scanning the road ahead, without worrying about missing an exit.

You can also guard against adverse weather conditions and mechanical problems by taking a little time to prepare your vehicle before a journey. This is especially important if you are planning to travel a long way. Learn everything you must know about preparing for a highway journey in this module.

Important driving practices

This section summarizes those must-know highway driving techniques and safety practices. Organized into an easy-to-follow checklist, this information can be printed off and revisited as often as needed; you may wish to read through it again before taking your car onto a freeway.

Highway hypnosis, velocitation and other prominent highway-driving threats are discussed in this module. The module also covers defensive driving – the “prevention over cure” driving method that will help you avoid potentially dangerous situations before they occur.

Avoiding highway emergencies

Every driver must know how to act during an emergency on a highway. Unfortunately, not every dangerous situation can be avoided. If an accident occurs ahead of you on a highway, your safety and the safety of those around you will depend on your ability to take calm and considered evasive action. Find out more about accident evasion in “Avoiding Highway Emergencies”.

Experiencing a mechanical failure on a highway can be terrifying. It has little to do with driving ability and can happen to any motorist, at any time. If something goes wrong with your vehicle it is important to remain calm, as panicking will only make an already dangerous situation much worse. In this module, we talk through the steps you must follow to pull over safely and seek assistance when experiencing technical problems with your car. In addition, the module covers the precautions drivers must take when encountering other disabled vehicles on the highway.

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Preparing for The Trip on A Highway
Highway Driving Safety 2 of 4

Preparing for The Trip

If your journey involves using unfamiliar limited access highways, planning your route ahead of time is essential. Mapping out your trip in advance will minimize stress and ensure you do not miss vital exits on the freeway.

Important Highway Driving Practices
Highway Driving Safety 3 of 4

Important Driving Practices

This section summarizes those must-know highway driving techniques and safety practices. Organized into an easy-to-follow checklist, this information can be printed off and revisited as often as needed; you may wish to read through it again before taking your car onto a freeway.

Dealing with Highway Emergencies
Highway Driving Safety 4 of 4

Avoiding Highway Emergencies

Practicing defensive driving techniques can help you avoid accidents and emergencies on the highway. You may still encounter crashes irrespective of how careful you are, as you cannot rely on other drivers to make safe decisions all the time. The nature of expressway driving means that a single accident or collision can end up disrupting many different vehicles.

Driving on Highways 5 of 10

Entering a Highway

It is important to learn the proper procedure for entering a highway - especially where acceleration and merging are concerned. Merging with high-speed traffic can be dangerous and presents a real challenge for less-experienced drivers. The secrets to safe and successful freeway entry are being vigilant, signaling and matching the speed of existing traffic.

Driving on Highways 6 of 10

Choosing A Lane on A Highway

The speed at which you are traveling will also somewhat determine which lane you should choose to occupy. While avoiding all unnecessary lane changes, motorists must be prepared to change lanes whenever doing so creates a safer driving situation. The distance remaining until your intended exit will also influence your choice of lanes.

Driving on Highways 7 of 10

Highway Driving Maneuvers

Making any maneuver on a highway will put you at risk, as the high density of traffic and high speeds involved leave little room for error and a small window of time in which to act in response to a threat. The key to maneuvering safely on an expressway is maintaining enough space around your vehicle, keeping up with the flow of traffic and scanning ahead for potential dangers.

Driving on Highways 8 of 10

Special Highway Areas

While using highways, you may encounter areas which require different driving behaviors, or where a different set of rules apply. Understanding how areas like HOV lanes and toll booths must be used will help you to stay out of danger and avoid getting a ticket.

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Exiting a Highway

While exiting a highway is nowhere near as difficult or intimidating as entering one, there is still a lot that can go wrong. Learning how to exit a highway safely is a skill like any other you will learn in preparation for your driver’s exam. It will not require you to merge with traffic as you do when entering the highway, though it still deserves considerable attention.

Driving on Highways 10 of 10

Highway Construction Zones

Highway construction zones present additional risks to drivers and the construction workers themselves. You may encounter signs, signal devices, cones and traffic control personnel, all in place to warn motorists and guide them around the work zone safely. Slow down is the number one rule. Keep an eye out for speed limit signs and workers occupying the road.