A lot of people are scared of driving on highways, especially those who are new to the process and who have little experience. In most cases, these people are learners; those who have recently passed their test, and those who have lost their confidence due to an accident. Some people will even go as far as to completely avoid driving down highways altogether.
Practicing highway driving is very important in order to remain safe on the roads. Driving can be very unpredictable and people never know when they will have to make changes to their routine. For example, if there's been an accident then people may be forced off their usually route and have to take a highway. This can be very dangerous for those who have failed to get an adequate amount of practice. People who are afraid of highways will also lack the most important element of safe driving – and that's confidence.
Building Good Driving Habits
One of the most important elements of practicing highway driving is to build up good driving habits. Most experienced drivers don't need to think consciously about what they are doing and will instinctively act on impulse. One of the most important habits to get into is to become aware of other drivers. For this reason, it's important to regularly check the rearview mirror. Some driving instructors recommend checking the mirrors every twelve seconds. This is a very important habit to get into. Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and exactly where other cars are on the road.
One of the most difficult elements of driving on a highway is changing lanes. The most important step of changing lanes is the head check. This means that drivers should never solely rely on mirrors in order to see if it's clear to move into another lane. The first step is to alert other drivers by using the indicators; then the head check should be performed in order to check the blind spot; and finally, if the lane is clear the driver should move into place. This may seem tedious, but it's a driving habit that becomes second nature with practice.
Exiting a Highway
Exiting a highway can be very confusing. It's very important that drivers take all of the necessary precautions prior to taking an exit to ensure that other cars are aware of their intentions. Failing to take certain steps could increase the risk of causing an accident. The driver should always count the exits so they will know when they need to turn off. Indicators should be turned on to inform other drivers well in advance of taking any exit.
Contrary to popular belief driving on a highway is actually much safer than on surface streets. On a highway people will be driving at a constant speed, and generally staying in one single lane. On surface roads there will be more turns, crossings and traffic collisions. In fact, 86% of accidents happen off the highways. Those who are initially getting used to driving on a highway should remain at a slow but safe speed, and should make sure that they are free from distractions (music, conversations with passengers) in order to become more aware of what's going on around them.
The best element of driving on a highway is the convenience that they can add to a journey. Highway driving is a lot faster paced than inner city driving, and can often lead people to reach their destination much quicker. This is because most inner city roads and surface roads will have much more congestion and will be more difficult in terms of navigation.
Practicing on the Highway
The best way to remain safe on a highway is to practice over and over again. People who have doubts about highway driving should try to practice with an experienced driver so they can feel more confident. Only when they are confident that they will be able to drive safely should they take the highway alone. Even then it's recommended that they ease themselves into it with baby steps, such as taking the highway for only certain parts of a journey.