Even after mastering highway driving lessons, driving on NYC highways for the first time is always nerve-racking. That’s why new drivers should start by navigating the local roads before moving to the busy highways.
Here are highway driving tips that a new driver needs to consider before driving along the New York highways.
How Do You Drive on the Highway?
There are three main stages of highway driving:
1. Entering the highway
2. Driving on the highway
3. Exiting the highway
1. Entering the highway
Most people make the mistake of entering the highway at the wrong speed. By the end of the on-ramp, your speed should be similar to the traffic flow’s.
If the traffic is bumper to bumper, you won’t be going very fast, but if the freeway is going at 60 miles an hour, you want to be at that speed by the time you enter the freeway.
Check the rearview mirror, signal, and side mirror, and look over your shoulder. If it’s clear, position yourself right in the gap.
2. Driving on the highway
Now that you are on the highway, which lane should you use?
The lane farthest to the right is the slow or exit lane. The middle lanes are those where most of the traffic is flowing. The lane farthest to the left is the passing lane with faster-moving traffic.
Is Passing on the Right Illegal in New York?
Lane laws vary from state to state. In New York, the law permits driving on the right side, and to pass other vehicles, you should do so on the left. You are allowed to pass vehicles on the right under certain circumstances and only do that when necessary and safe.
Before changing lanes, you should always signal with your turn signals or hand at least 100 feet before changing the lane. The law doesn’t allow you to pass a motor vehicle that has stopped near a crosswalk to let people walk across.
To learn more about passing on the left, or right side of the road, check out DMV’s chapter 6 on passing.
3. Exiting the Highway
You should get into the exit lane half a mile before the exit. Start by looking into your rearview, side view, and blind spot and if all looks good, turn on signals and merge into the exit lane.
When firmly in the exit lane, you can turn your signals off. Decelerate whether you’re coming to a stop sign, a stop light, or just merging onto a different freeway; you must judge what speed to go with.
Join Pierre Paul Driving to learn practical highway driving lessons and drive anywhere in NYC. Once you get it right with us, driving alone can’t go wrong.
Quick Tips to Guarantee Your Safety During Highway Driving
Beware of Construction Zones
Typically, in construction zones, the speed limit changes quickly from 70 mph to 40 mph to help keep the construction workers safe. It’s also a place where an officer can be hiding to give you a double ticket because, first, it’s a construction zone and second, for speeding. Also, you may need to keep the headlights on in a construction zone.
Choose the Right Time for Driving on the Highways
When planning to drive on the highways for the first time, choosing the ideal place and time is best. You may want to start off on a highway with less traffic or when fewer drivers are on the highway. You must also drive on a clear day when no rain, fog, or snow may affect visibility.
Leave Space In front of You When Changing Lanes
When changing lanes on the highway, distance and speed are critical. When maneuvering, it’s recommended to leave a space of four to six seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Leaving more space gives you adequate time to avoid a collision or react to any debris along the highway. Besides, routinely check the blind spot, side-view, and rear-view mirrors before switching lanes.
Start in the Right Lane
Stay on the right lane when driving on the major NYC highways for the first time. It’s common to see your drivers move to the left lane that’s meant for passing.
Keep driving in the right lane, and you’ll find it easy to maintain your speed there and interact with traffic that comes onto the freeway.
Use Turn Signals
When driving on the highway, it’s important to get into the habit of using turn signals. These signals help other drivers to know the direction you intend to turn. It also lets other drivers know what they should do with regard to the other vehicles on the road.
In 2018, the New York State Police had to issue 15,217 tickets against violations of section 1163 law, which includes failure to signal, and not signaling from 100 feet or more before a driver makes a turn. Following these rules can get you awarded two points on your license.
The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), which is affiliated to the State University of New York, reports that in 2018 alone, New York encountered 542 crushes caused by turn signal violations.
The turn signals are found on a shorter lever connected to the steering wheel column for most vehicles. Pull the lever down to activate the right-side signals to indicate a right-hand turn. On the other hand, before making a left-hand turn, pull the lever up to activate the left-side signals.
When Should You Use Turn Signals?
You can use a turn signal when:
- Changing lanes
- Making a right-or left-hand turn at an intersection
- Pulling over toward the side of the road
- Parking your vehicle on the side of a street
- Entering a parking lot or driveway on either side of the highway
- Passing another motor vehicle on the road
- Entering a roadway as you merge with traffic
Even when there are no pedestrians or other vehicles, just use the turn signals. There could be traffic you can’t see, and using your blinkers can prevent an accident.
Keep a Wider Viewpoint
When driving on highways, most new drivers stare at what’s in front of them. While that’s good, the highway unpredictability and speeds usually require a broader viewpoint.
Thus, you should look right in front of your vehicle but also into the rear-view and farther down the highway. In other words, you should constantly adjust your observation points.
Keep Your Cool While on the Highway
Mastering highway driving lessons in NYC goes beyond proper driving. It’s also about keeping the young driver’s maturity level in check.
While driving a highway, don’t take anything personally. For example, if a driver cuts you off, you should let it go, as you don’t know the person’s mental state. Besides, everyone makes mistakes, anyway, and drivers aren’t that perfect.
At Pierre Paul Driving, we teach teens and adult drivers how to handle different situations on the road and keep cool. Learn with us, and you will find driving a fun adventure. Enroll today.
Avoid Distractions When Driving on NYC Highways
For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9 percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were attributed to distraction. And 3,166 individuals died in crashes involving distracted driving. Of this number, 599 people were non-occupants, including cyclists, pedestrians, and others.
Given these alarming statistics, drivers must focus on the road when driving. Don’t text, talk on the phone, take selfies, or try to change music while driving on a NY highway.
It’s not only dangerous to do so while driving, but it’s also against the driving laws in New York. For nearly 20 years now, drivers aren’t allowed to talk on hand-held phones. Besides, texting while driving was also banned 10 years ago.
Top 3 Common Distractions among Teen Drivers
Teens enjoy rolling with the entire squad. But this is unsafe as accidents can easily occur when a teen rides with peers in the same vehicle.
What to do: Don’t let your teen drive their friends until they’ve been driving for at least one year.
For most teens, smartphones constantly take away their attention. So, nothing good will happen if they use their phones while on the road.
What to do: Don’t allow your teen to use a phone while driving. If they must use it, let them park the car and finish calling or texting before driving. Many apps can help with that.
Road and music are a perfect combination, right? However, switching channels or songs or reaching for a device playing music can distract you from the road.
What to do: If your teen likes car music, let them mix one playlist on a device in advance or select a radio station and stick with it. Also, reduce the volume to hear emergency vehicles and car horns.
To ensure your teen doesn’t get distracted while driving, you should consider taking them for driver education in a reputable driving school in Brooklyn.
NYC highways are some of the busiest, and observing the above tips is important. At Pierre Paul Driving, we care about your safety and your family when on the road. That’s why we provide highway driving lessons in NYC. Contact us today for a free consultation.