Are you nervous about driving on the highway for the first time?
You are not alone: Driving on the highway can be overwhelming for first-time drivers who are used to the quiet roads on the streets.
However, you don’t need a new concept to drive on the highway; all you need is to remember what you learnt in your driving class.
Once you get used to the highway, you may even find it easier to use than street roads.
Safety should be your top priority while on the highway. The following tips will help you in your first highway drive and improve your driving skills.
Let’s get started.
What to Keep In Mind When Driving on the Highway for the First Time
1. Avoid the Rush Hour
Driving on the highway for the first time needs planning, this way, you can settle on the right time to be on the road.
A less busy highway will be the most appropriate for a new driver.
Commuters are likely to hit the highways from 7 to 9 in the morning and 4 to 6 in the evening during weekdays. At this time traffic is heavy and you might not learn enough.
Additionally, as much as you will have succeeded in avoiding the rush hour, don’t overlook the weather conditions.
Dangerous weather conditions such as heavy rains will only make your first experience harder.
2. Keep Right
On your first time on the highway, remember that you have no business with the left lane; keep right throughout.
The left lane is meant for passing which should not be a priority at this point you are trying to get comfortable with the highway.
Traffic on the right side may be slow enough for you as a starter, making you less nervous.
However, as much as you should stick to the right lane, conditions such as accidents may force you to change lanes.
3. Change Lanes Properly
When driving on the highway for the first time, we expect you to stick to the right lane. However, in some situations, you may be required to change lanes.
Keep a reasonable distance between your car and others for a safer change of lanes without causing collisions.
Use the blinkers to indicate your intention to change your lane or exit the highway to the other drivers.
Both your rear-view and side mirrors are essential in this situation. The mirrors will help you switch over safely. Don’t forget to check the blind spots too.
4. Avoid Distractions
Many accidents happen because of distractions. The phone is a major cause of distraction, especially among younger people.
Consider leaving your phone at home, and if you must carry it along, make sure that you switch it off or put it on flight mode.
If you have music in your car, you might be carried away by the lyrics and forget you are on the highway; trying to switch songs will also shift your attention from the road.
If you have passengers on board, don’t allow them to distract you; fix your eyes on the road and your mirrors.
We all know what distractions can cause; avoid them as much as you can.
5. Use Signals Appropriately
Using signals may seem obvious, but as a new driver, it’s easier to forget them. The earlier you get used to your turn signals, the better.
Thinking that you don’t need them to signal if there is no driver close to you will only encourage you to forget to use them. Do the right thing even when no one is watching.
Using signals is how to communicate to other drivers you want to change lanes or exit your lane. They play an essential role in keeping everyone safe when driving on the highway.
Signal in advance to allow fellow drivers to see it early enough and act accordingly. For example, if you plan to take a turn. Signal at an approximate distance of 100 feet before turning.
6. Practice Safe Merging
Merging on the highway may be a scary experience for first-time drivers. However, if you familiarize yourself with the merging rules, it will be easier for you.
Consider the following steps for more effortless merging.
- While at the entrance ramp, accelerate your car without forgetting to use glances to ensure no traffic on the lane you plan to enter.
- Use the turn signal to indicate that you want to merge.
- If the lane is clear, pick up the speed to the acceleration lane.
- If it’s safe, enter the highway and try to match other cars’ speeds.
7. Check Your Surrounding
While driving on the highway for the first time, you may be tempted to only focus on what is in front of your car.
But this should not be the case; you need to check what is around you by increasing your viewpoint.
Check whether you can see brake lights or any signs of danger.
A lot happens on the road; that’s why you may need to use your mirrors regularly to avoid trouble. Proper positioning of mirrors will help remove blind spots.
As a driver, you need to be always alert: constantly adjust your viewpoint.
8. Be Comfortable
To get to the highway, you need to be composed and ready if you are not ready, take your time and continue practicing.
Once you are comfortable while driving on the streets, you are ready to face the highway.
Consider taking an experienced driver for your first highway drive; this is a must if you don’t have a license.
There are driving lessons for people who need to be taught how to maneuver through the highways.
9. Keep Calm
On the highway, you expect to meet all types of drivers, from the cool ones to the troublemakers.
The highway is not the place to take everything personally. Otherwise, you might get home very frustrated.
Remember that nobody is perfect, and drivers make mistakes too.
Having gone through the tips, I hope you feel more confident about your first highway drive. Make sure you check the road rules such as the local speed limits. The earlier you familiarize yourself with the highway, the better because you will be required to use it at some point. Consistent practice will help significantly in perfecting your skills. I hope your first time on the highway goes well.