Freeway merging takes skill
I was recently discussing with my class of new drivers at Young Drivers of Canada about driving on the freeway. We all came to the same conclusion that someone with proper training has a better chance to drive safely on a freeway compared to someone who doesn’t take professional training at all. They were concerned that those drivers would affect their safety. Well, they’re right. Luckily, my students got enough information to help them merge onto the freeway and to help other drivers get safely onto the freeway as well. Maybe these tips will help you as well.
As you approach the freeway onramp, check the posted ramp speed sign and match it by checking your speedometer. Since those signs are yellow, they are suggested speeds, but should be taken into consideration each time you use the freeway entrance ramp. On wet or slippery roads, you should pretty much match the suggested speed. Not only will it allow you to properly grip the road, but it will help you look ahead enough to see where you’re going.
Once you begin to leave the curve of the ramp, start accelerating up to the freeway speed, or the speed of traffic; whichever is needed at that time. As you start accelerating, check your rear view mirror, your side mirror and then blind spot early. This gives you time to adjust to the traffic before the merging lane ends. For example, if there’s a vehicle close to you as you begin accelerating, you’ll need to decide to let them pass so you can move in behind them or to accelerate fast to get ahead of them. Their speed is a determining factor of when you merge.
As you begin to match the speed limit or the flow of traffic, check your mirrors and blind spot once again. This allows you to determine if someone from the centre lane has come into your intended lane without realizing that you needed to change lanes. If they do block your lane, you can ease off the gas to let them pass and drive slightly onto the shoulder. This will give you enough time to safely merge in with traffic.
If everything is clear, look well ahead into your intended lane and gently drift into your new lane. Once you’re on the freeway, check your mirrors to ensure the space around you is ample.
As you’re driving along the freeway and are approaching a merging lane, change lanes to allow the merging driver a chance to move safely onto the freeway. If you can’t safely change lanes, adjust speed to allow them enough space to move in either behind you or ahead of you. Help them make the transition onto the freeway a safe one.
There; we did it safely. Now, if only other drivers could use these tips so we can all be safe when entering the freeway.