It is an exciting day and a milestone in a young person’s life when he or she first passes the road test and becomes a licensed driver. After months of practicing behind the wheel, learning how to parallel park, turn around in a tight space, back up, and safely obey all the rules of the road, it is certainly rewarding to achieve the goal of driving a car.
But, this is just the beginning, because practicing what we have learned – how to drive defensively and safely at all times, under all conditions – is often our biggest challenge.
Driving on local roads vs. interstate driving.
Newly licensed drivers may feel empowered on local roads, especially in the neighborhood or town in which they learned to drive. Driving in town can be much different than driving on interstates. If you have a tangle with a new driver that hasn’t quite been prepared for an adventurous highway trip, be sure to contact an attorney such as a Charlotte car accident lawyer for legal counsel. Every driver, experienced or not, should keep in mind these rules to ensure optimal safety of everyone on the road:
1. Always maintain safe driving speeds. People drive faster on interstates than they do on local streets. You don’t have to slow down for traffic lights or stop signs, and often, interstate speed limits are higher than on two-lane highways. Always obey speed limit signs, unless traffic volume dictates that you drive at a slower speed. During rush hour or any other time there is a high volume of traffic, driving the posted speed limit could be dangerous. Be aware of the traffic around you and adjust your speed accordingly.
2. Pay attention to changing weather conditions. When you drive on an interstate with a large volume of traffic, weather conditions can turn safe conditions to unsafe ones in no time. If it begins to rain, use your windshield wipers and headlights, and decrease your speed accordingly. If you encounter snow or icy conditions, drive in the right lane and use your hazard lights if you need to. If conditions and visibility get really bad, pull over until you feel comfortable operating your vehicle again.
3. Use your signals. Using your signals to safely pass someone or change lanes on a major highway is a must. With so many drivers on the road, and not all of them paying close attention, always use your signal and check your blind spot when you change lanes.
4. Don’t tailgate. Never follow a car too closely. Tailgating is one of the leading causes of accidents, and if the car in front of you stops suddenly, you could both suffer severe consequences and damages. Minimally, you should always keep two to three seconds of space between your car and the one in front of you, or more stopping time as the conditions dictate.
5. Don’t get angry. Even when you are traveling at a safe speed, maintaining a safe distance between cars, and giving your complete attention to the current driving conditions, there will still be other drivers who are speeding, weaving, and tailgating. Don’t get angry and allow yourself to speed up or let your emotions take over. The best thing you can do is to continue safe driving practices.
Don’t be intimidated by interstate driving. Remind yourself that you know the rules of the road, and practice applying them each time you drive. Just like anything else in life, practice will help you feel more confident, and each time you drive on the interstate without incident, you become a more experienced and knowledgeable driver.
Teresa Stewart enjoys long highway trips and writes safety tips for other fast road travelers in NC. Insurance Industry research shows that claim victims with lawyers receive higher benefits. A Charlotte car accident lawyer will protect you from minimized or denied claim settlements.