Whether you operate a standard car, a large truck, or a swift motorcycle, merging onto the highway is an inevitable element of driving. Depending upon specific commutes, many drivers engage in highway travel each and every day. Unfortunately, merging is still one of the top causes of motor vehicle collisions today. On Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 95, getting onto the highway requires skill, experience, and a number of precautionary measures to do so safely. Nationally, there are an average of 200 fatalities and over 200,000 crashes directly correlated to merging and lane-changing. Determining who has the right-of-way, what speed to travel, and other components of merging contributes to the uncertainty and risky of nature of merging onto the highway.
Being aware of the most effective and, more importantly, safe way to merge on and off the highway as well as how to adjust to merging vehicles once on the highway is critical to keeping Florida’s roadways safe for all drivers. Let’s take a look at the top 10 tips for merging onto the highway:
- Do not stop (unless completely necessary) while merging onto the highway and always yield to drivers always on it
- Prior to entering the roadway, adjust your vehicle’s speed to match the current flow of traffic
- Only cross one lane of traffic at a time, signaling each maneuver
- Seek gaps in traffic to decide when to merge, typically looking for a 3-4 second gap and always attempting to merge behind a vehicle instead of in front
- When merging off of the highway be prepared in advance and plan your exit prior to making any moves
- Do not merge until the solid line ends
- Activate your turning signal at least 100 feet before merging or lane change
- Always look before merging, especially checking the blind spot of the vehicle
- Always pass vehicles on the left side, increasing passing distance to pass large vehicles
- Always maintain your speed to match the flow of traffic, adjust this speed to account for adverse weather conditions as well as the exit ramp design
As a general rule, always assume that the person closest to your merge is unaware of your presence. Being a defensive, hyper-alter driver is the key to avoiding merging accidents. When it comes to highway travel, the dangers and risks grow with the rising speed. Be sure to make every move with caution and safety in mind while merging onto Florida’s highways.