Exiting the freeway also takes skill
Watching traffic is my passion, my job and my hobby. It’s tough to turn it off when I’m not working as a driving instructor for Young Drivers of Canada. Do I need a therapist because I watch traffic in my spare time or should I just “roll with it”? I’m perfectly happy with my situation as it allows me to keep an eye on the driving public. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of driving on the freeway. It’s a great way to get from point A to point B quickly, but it does have its drawbacks. Have you thought the same?
A lot of drivers have a general idea of how to safely enter the freeway and drive along it without causing problems to themselves or other road users, but some don’t. Leaving the freeway seems to be a lost forgotten art lately. I’m not really sure what drivers are thinking about when they’re leaving the freeway, or even if they are thinking at all.
Recently I’ve seen drivers slow down while still on the freeway. This isn’t always a bad thing if traffic is already moving slowly, but when the flow of traffic is moving at a quick rate of speed, the driver should exit the freeway at the same freeway speed and then reduce their speed once they have fully exited. This allows freeway traffic to continue along at the same speed without interruption. Slowing down while still in the flow of traffic slows the entire flow of traffic down, not just the couple of vehicles behind them.
It’s a chain of reactions when the brake lights happen and a delay before traffic begins to move along again after the brake lights go out. This can all be avoided if the exiting drivers wait until they’ve entered the exit lane before slowing. Is that how you leave the freeway? Do you allow the flow to keep moving or do you slow down the flow before you exit.
Now that they’ve left the freeway, I’ve also seen drivers take the curve too quickly and sometimes, have to brake very hard to avoid hitting the vehicles which have already stopped. The signs aren’t there just to help drivers keep traction as they go around the curve; they also allow the driver to see far enough ahead to be able to respond to what they see.
If you travel too quickly on the exit ramp, you may only be able to see 3 to 4 seconds ahead of your vehicle. By reducing your speed as the ramp speed sign suggests, you’ll be able to see over 10 seconds ahead which will allow you plenty of time to brake smoothly for any stopped traffic that’s ahead of you.
Knowing how to safely enter, drive along and exit a freeway may allow you to ease some stress you may have about freeway driving. Doing it safely may also help our driving community work more effectively and it may even allow you to begin to enjoy the drive once again.