Highways | Merging | Passing
Updated: Jan 25
Highways are roads that have faster speed limits which allow motorists to commute to their destination more quickly than regular roads. Whenever we merge onto the highway it's important that we match the speed of the vehicles already on the highway. This ensures that we don't interrupt the flow of traffic and is much safer for us than merging at a slower speed. Merging on the highway at too slow of a speed is extremely dangerous because you could get rear ended and cause lane conflicts. Get your speed up while in the acceleration lane and merge onto the highway safely. Many of the highway interchanges in and around Halifax have long outdated designs which means the acceleration lanes are shorter than more modern interchanges. This is why it's super important that you are familiar with any interchange that you merge or exit the highway from.
Advantages of Highway Driving
Highways allow for more cars
Collision rates are lower
No cross traffic
Separation of opposing traffic by grass or barriers
No slow moving road users allowed such as bicycles or pedestrians
Highway Driving Tips
Remain in the right lane as much as possible.
Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles.
Check your blind spots when you change lanes.
Don't hang out in another vehicle's blind spot area.
Always ensure that the left lane is flowing ahead of you slightly faster.
Special Hazards of Highway Driving
If you're driving long distances you may experience either one of these two phenomena.
Highway Hypnosis - occurs mainly on highways where there are few challenges or distractions.
Velocitation - this occurs when you drive at a high rate of speed. The danger comes when you exit the freeway. It will be a lot more difficult to adjust to lower speed limits.
How To Overcome Velocitation
You can prevent velocitation by looking at your speedometer frequently.
When exiting a highway, keep your speed up until you are in the exit ramp and then come onto those brakes as much as you need to in order to slow down safely. Always approach ramps and curves at the recommended speed. The yellow sign indicates the safest speed for that curve. If there is no recommended speed sign use extreme caution.
Million Dollar Highway San Juan Skyway | Ouray to Silverton & Durango 4K Colorado U.S. 550 South
Expect The Unexpected
Never stop on the highway even if there is an object in your lane. Drive through whatever it is because you cannot make any sudden moves on the highway.
Merging Onto A Highway Safely
Shoulder Checks are essential for all drivers to learn, especially when driving on highways. They are the most important thing you will do when driving. You need to match the speed of highway traffic or else you will endanger yourself and others. Be confident. I guarantee you that other motorists will assist you in getting onto the highway.
If you're going on the highway then you need to go on the highway
In this video a student is nervous to go on the highway. I tell them that I will shoulder check for them so that all they have to do is drive onto the highway. The student accelerates to 100 km/hr and then decides to back out of it. But there are no vehicles in the lane that we want to merge into. They could literally drive directly onto the highway but choose to drive onto the shoulder and toward the guardrail. To make matters worse they cut the steering wheel sharply to get onto the highway. This is extremely dangerous. Never back out of a merge because I guarantee you that other drivers will assist you with getting on the highway. Never ever ever make any sudden moves on the highway because that is how you flip a car. We are very lucky here that the student didn't flip the car.
Never Ever Do This
Never merge like this
Make sure the vehicle in front of you maintains speed and does not slow.
Gradually build up your speed in the acceleration lane.
Activate your turn signal early, giving highway road users a heads-up.
Begin checking your mirrors and blind spots by shoulder checking, this is absolutely critical.
HOLD THE STEERING WHEEL IN ITS CURRENT POSITION.
Now interpret what the other road users are doing and adjust to match their speed.
Merge onto the highway as though you are a skipper that is jumping in for their turn on a jump rope and don’t break the flow.
From the O.G. – How To Merge The SAFE Way Onto The Highway
When leaving the highway, signal your turn well in advance, and without slowing down, then enter the exit lane. Slow down and proceed at the posted ramp speed. Most exit ramps are to the right.
How To Merge On The Highway Like A Boss!
How To Drive On The Highway
Driving below the posted speed limit in ideal conditions can be dangerous. Studies show that a vehicle moving at a speed considerably below the posted limit is much more likely to cause or be involved in a crash. Driving slowly is especially dangerous around the crest of a hill or in a curve.
Don't hang out in the left lane. The left lane is for vehicles who wish to drive a bit faster. If you have to pass you can do so but then go back to your lane right away when your pass is completed.
This is one of the many examples of the dangers and complications caused by driving too slow on the highway while in the passing lane.
Driving Too Slow On The Highway Is Extremely Dangerous
Left lane losers vs POLICE officer review on making US highways dangerous
Staying centered in your lane
From the O.G. – How To Set A Safe Following Distance
Move Over law
When and emergency vehicle has its lights on while on the side of the highway, slow to 60 km/hr and change to the next lane if it is safe to do so. If you can’t change lanes, just slow down that much more.
"Motorists, if you see an emergency vehicle pulled over with its lights flashing, slow down to 60 km/h or obey the speed limit if it’s lower than 60 km/h."
Motor vehicle crash and collision
This crash happened in 2017 on Highway 102 at Exit 2. Halifax Police were on a scene investigating a fatal crash when a pickup truck came flying down the highway, past the stopped line of cars and obliterated a police motorcycle. The officer jumped over the median to avoid the truck.
If you can't move over then slow down - MVA on hwy 111 in Dartmouth
When an emergency vehicle is moving we have to yield to it
Emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles using flashing lights and sirens have the right of way. When one of these vehicles approaches you from ahead or behind with its lights flashing, move to the right edge of the road and stop.
Always yield to emergency vehicles when they are responding to an emergency with their lights and or sirens activated.
How to deal with emergency vehicles
What Does Rubbernecking Mean?
Rubbernecking - Rubbernecking happens when motorists are driving by the scene of an accident and they stare at the accident. This usually causes them to rear end the vehicle in front of them or it causes them to leave their lane which creates another accident. This is common and is very dangerous. Slowing down to look at an accident on the side of the road is a major cause of traffic jams and accidents. Emergency vehicle lights are designed to get your attention. It’s okay to look around when you see them but remember, quick glances only then return your eyes to what’s in front of you.
Rubbernecking Accident on highway 102 in Halifax
In the video below the last car in a stopped line of traffic gets rear ended by a rubbernecker. If you are ever the last car in a line always watch your rear view mirror to check for vehicles approaching quickly from behind. Leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you get rear ended the extra space will allow your car to slide ahead instead of being pushed into the vehicle in front of you.
Highway 102 Fatal Accident
"A woman has died and two men are in hospital after three vehicles collided on Nova Scotia’s Highway 102 early Thursday morning. The RCMP and emergency crews responded to the crash between exits 5a and 5 in Goffs, N.S., around 7 a.m. Police say traffic on the highway had slowed to a stop due to an unrelated collision, which led to a pile-up. As it approached the traffic, police say a Dodge Ram collided with a Subaru Outback, and both vehicles then struck a Ford F-150. The collision forced the Dodge Ram into the median."
"A passenger in the Dodge Ram died at the scene. The 64-year-old woman was from Valley, N.S. Police say the driver, a 73-year-old Valley man, sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital. The driver of the Subaru, a 48-year-old man from Grand Lake, N.S., was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Ford F-150 wasn’t injured in the crash. A section of Highway 102 was closed for about six hours Thursday as investigators remained on scene. It reopened around 1 p.m."
Never stay on the shoulder of a highway
"Nova Scotia RCMP say a man has died in a highway crash during an attempt to assist another driver after they had hit a deer. On Thursday night, on Hwy. 102, an SUV hit a deer and the uninjured driver was able to pull over to the side of the road in Alton, Colchester Co. RCMP say they were already on the scene and were waiting for a tow, when a pickup truck stopped on the highway in the lane going in opposite traffic. The release said the driver exited the vehicle to see if they could help.”
Before passing a vehicle on the highway, consider:
Is there a passing lane coming up in the next few kilometers?
Does my vehicle have the power to pass fairly quickly?
Is someone behind me already passing too?
Don’t accelerate into the vehicle you are passing.
Do you have a clear line of sight?
Look closely at the below video. At first you would think that this is a reckless driver, but look closer. They begin to pass with a broken line then the broken line ends as we approach a curve. The driver is clearly not familiar with the area. These are the things that will get you on the highway, and sometimes these hazards are hard to see coming ahead of time. A good habit is to never pass at night on a single lane highway.
Highway 103 Near Miss
Getting passed on the shoulder on the highway by a luxury SUV
When a vehicle passes you, take your foot off the accelerator to assist them with completing the pass. This ensures the safety of the other motorist as well as yours. When you see the merge point at which your lane merges into a single lane with other traffic don't try to rush a pass. This is what could happen: