One of the most important thing to remember when you are driving is that you are operating a two-ton machine, and so is everyone else on the road. With that in mind, taking care in your journey is paramount to your safety and everyone else on the roads.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your safety on the freeway:
Ensure that you have a good idea of where you are going and the path you will take to get to your final destination. Once in your vehicle ensure your mirrors are in the correct position and that you aware of your blind spots.
Do not wear a headset, or cover your ears in any way- if you have music playing do not blare it loudly.
Keep at least a cars length distance between you and the person in front of you and look well beyond the vehicles that are ahead of you. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Check your mirrors before changing lanes and if you do have a blind spot, physically turn your head to check before changing. Do not use your horn unless it is a safety warning.
Ensure that you are following the speed limit, if you need to drive slowly stay in the right hand lane as not to prevent the flow of traffic.
If a driver is attempting to pass you, allow them to do so, regardless of whether you believe your speed is sufficient or not.
When merging on the freeway do so at the same speed as the rest of the traffic, or as close to as possible. Remember that freeway traffic has the right of way.
Be courteous: always use your indicators to alert drivers to your movements, and pay attention to their signals, too. Yield for others when necessary and dim your headlights for oncoming traffic.
Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, furthermore avoid driving when angry.
Leave in enough time to factor in delays, speeding to arrive on time puts you and other drivers in unnecessary danger.
Ensure you check your mirrors often and that you are aware of the vehicles that are around you. Don’t just look, but observe.
Do not use high beams on the freeway, unless there is no other traffic.
Do not use the emergency lane as a passing lane, and do not attempt to pass off the paved part of the road.
Signal for at least five seconds before making your lane change, and ensure there is a safe distance between cars before you change lanes.
In the event of an emergency vehicle needing passage move to the extreme right until they have safely passed. It’s illegal to follow within 300 feet of an emergency vehicle in the midst of answering a call.
Do not litter. Not only will you be fine, but a conviction for littering forms part of your driving record.
Unless you are making a turn, or overtaking a vehicle, you should not travel in the center of a three lane road.
In the event of a breakdown there are a number of steps to take in order to ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers.
Move off the road.
Cars don’t generally stop dead, they usually start to display “symptoms” which gives you time to pull over and get your car as far to the side of the road as possible. (In the event of a complete and total breakdown turn your hazard lights on immediately, do not get out of the car- call for help immediately.)
When you have pulled safely off the road, engage your hazard lights, put your car in park, engage your emergency brake and steer your wheel away from the road. This will ensure that your care doesn’t somehow roll into oncoming traffic.
Call for Help
The majority of us have cell phones these days, it is imperative that you keep your phone charged when planning any journey. Call for help.
Alert Other Drivers to Your Distress
You have put your hazard lights on, however there are a number of reasons people do this so this doesn’t necessarily communicate car problems.
If you can exit your vehicle safely and have road flares, place two flares at least 50 feet behind your vehicle. If not, raising your hood is a pretty clear indication that you’re in trouble.
Stay at the Car
You’ve already called for help, and roadside services don’t tend to take that long in responding- they can’t proceed without you. Not to mention that being a pedestrian on a freeway is incredibly dangerous, instead practice patience rather than risking your life to speed things up.
Unless you have experience with auto repair it’s best that you don’t attempt to solve the problem yourself. It might be a flat tire and you know how to change it, but you’ve never had to. Changing a tire can be tricky, but sitting on the shoulder of the freeway is probably not the greatest place to try it out for the first time. If you are a skilled tire changer you may proceed with caution, however, ideally wait for a police officer to appear in order to slow traffic so you can do so safely.
Apply Common Sense
If you happen to have broken down and you know you are out of gas and that there is a gas station right there– then by all means, proceed with caution. Don’t exit your vehicle on the side where the traffic is flowing and if it is dark do not proceed without a flashlight.
It goes without saying that there are a number of good Samaritans who would never drive by someone who is in trouble. Unfortunately, the world we live can be a scary place and for every good Samaritan willing to stop, there is an opportunistic bad egg looking for a vulnerable victim. If someone pulls over and offers to help stay in your car with the doors locked. You can roll down your window enough to explain the situation and let them know you’re waiting for roadside assistance to arrive. It’s better to be safe than sorry.