Shahe KoulloukianSure, you’ve never been in an accident, sure you’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, sure you’ve been driving for 20 plus years, But do you really know how to drive? Could you prevent merging collisions?

Most drivers who are entering and exiting or even changing lanes on busy roadways should never assume other motorists will make room for them to merge. Some folks may wave you in but everyone is in hurry and the chances are very slim!

Understand that pretty much every driver on freeways or highways never expect traffic to stop or alter its course, and they drive that way with no thought except to get the their destination!!

For this very reason, all motorists should drive defensively and take precautions when passing vehicles to prevent merging collisions. And CDL drivers or drivers towing a trailer remember the extra weight makes it harder to stop.

Here are some ways to create safer merging:

  • Adjust your speed to match the flow of traffic before entering the roadway.
  • Yield to drivers on the freeway, but avoid stopping unless absolutely necessary.
  • Find a 3 to 4-second gap in traffic to merge. Quick Tip: “Never look for the vehicle you want to get ahead of; look for the vehicle you want to be behind.”
  • Check for cars around your vehicle before entering a lane. And remember to check your blind spot.
  • Quick Tip: “Your mirrors will only show you where you aim them to look. You must do a head check.” Meaning, turn your head to check and see if the way is clear.
  • Make sure to use your turn signals very early, a recommended 100 to 300 feet before merging or changing lanes.
  • Wait for the solid line to end before merging. A solid line indicates that lane changes are prohibited.
  • Cross one lane of traffic at a time.
  • Be prepared for your exit, and maneuver into the far-right lane as you approach it.
  • In general, keep up with the speed of traffic until you exit. However, it’s important to adjust your speed to weather conditions and the design of the exit ramp.
  • If you must pass a vehicle, pass on the left and return to your lane once the vehicle is visible in your rear view mirror. Increase this distance when passing larger vehicles.

Though its seems to not be so important, understand that knowing how to properly change lanes can greatly reduce the risk of crashes, injuries and most importantly fatalities.