Taking the on-ramp to the highway may be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for inexperienced drivers.
To prevent a collision, drivers must make every effort to reduce their speed and move out of the way of the oncoming traffic.
If you’re unsure about the requirements in your state, ensure you review the rules of the road.
Using the Correct Approach
1. Adjust Your Speed
Making sure you’re moving at the same pace as the interstate traffic is the first step in merging safely. If you’re approaching the highway through an acceleration lane, you’ll be able to get up to speed rapidly.
Check your mirrors and watch the traffic around you when you’re speeding up. If you’re trying to merge into a fast-moving lane and notice a queue of vehicles approaching, it’s good to take a few extra beats before accelerating to top speed.
When merging into a freeway, you don’t want to create a risky scenario. Therefore, you can merge at the same pace as the other cars.
2. Make Use of the Indicator
Prepare ahead of time so that other motorists are aware of your plans. As a result, they’ll have plenty of time to make any required modifications. But bear in mind that you don’t have the right of way as the merging driver.
The other drivers are not required to move off the road. Rather, they will continue traveling at a similar pace, and it’s upon you to ensure that you change your pace and merge properly.
3. Observe the Flow of Traffic
If the roadway is congested, you’ll need to wait for a lane to open up before merging. Take a peek behind you and in your mirrors to see if it is safe to continue driving. Make sure you’re driving at a suitable pace so that you may safely merge into traffic.
- The rearview mirror and the driver’s side mirror are good places to start.
- See if anyone has slowed or stopped in front of you on the merge lane.
- Check to ensure no one is in your blind spot. To do this, close behind you in the lane you are merging.
4. Merge When the Time Is Right
Take it easy while merging into the next lane when you see one open. You’ll need to respond swiftly if someone slows in front of you or tries to join your lane as you merge. Once you’ve gotten into the rhythm of traffic, you should be able to keep up.
To change lanes on a two-lane road, you must first check your blind spot. You need to turn and look back to whatever side the lane is that you intend to merge into since a whole semi-truck may fit into the blind spot that is not indicated by your mirrors.
When the road is clear, you can put on your turn signal on the side of the lane change, and then you must drive your car gently into the other lane. You need to be careful not to yank the wheel too quickly to the next lane you’re entering so that you don’t end up going too far.
Tips for Excellent Merging
1. Don’t Merge Too Quickly
When merging into a new lane, be careful not to stray in the lane in front of you. Other drivers might not see you. Therefore, use your turn signal and make eye contact with the driver in front of you if possible.
2. Read the “Body Language” of Other Vehicles
There are rules to ensure that automobiles in the merging lane continue to travel consistently, so the person merging has to gently identify a gap in it. Although each driver is unique, watching the road and judging based on the facts is crucial.
- First, if you notice a car that appears to be speeding up, don’t merge until the driver has passed. Drivers may also use their hands to signal for you to enter their lane.
- Be on the lookout for cars exiting the merge lane to create a place for your vehicle. The motorist behind you may be slowing down to “allow you in.” If this is the case, accelerate and accept the courtesy.
- Don’t presume that others will be driving at the right pace for the road conditions. It’s up to you how you respond to what’s going on around you.
3. Use the Space Behind And In Front of You
When you merge, you want to keep a safe gap from the automobiles in front and behind you. This gives you a little breathing room if the automobile in front of you unexpectedly stops, causing you to slow down.
Train your acceleration to don’t speed up on other automobiles or slow them down behind you.
4. Allow Others to Merge When They Need To
Either slow down or speed up depending on the situation, but don’t get too aggressive if someone wants to merge in front of you. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and do your best to make things easy for other drivers.
5. Slow Down When You’re Unsure
If you’re unsure what to do, you could fall back on what you were taught in Driver’s ED and slow down your merging with your brakes.
When braking and turning simultaneously, you risk activating your stability control.
6. Don’t Stop In the Merging Lane
Traffic is awful, and you don’t see any gaps, so think again if you’re inclined to stop. A car can’t accelerate from 0 to 65mph in a reasonable amount of time, and when you try to get back on the road, it will be harmful to you and the other cars.
As soon as possible, put your turn signal on, accelerate to the pace of traffic, and keep eye contact with the motorist in front of you.
When necessary, lanes must be closed because of construction or accidents. You may have to change lanes or let others use your lane while lane closures are in effect.
The Federal Highway Administration considers zipper merging a best practice and a safe method of dealing with lane closures.
Drivers utilize traffic lanes until they reach the designated merge location and then alternate into the available lane in a zipper-like manner.
Using a zipper merge decreases the risk of unsafe lane changes and delays in traffic flow.