Now we get to advance your driving skills by taking you out to the wonderful world of what seems at times is a touring car race! On most major highways the speed varies from 50 mph (often around/near the city) to 70 mph on motorways.
Also it is worth noting that on almost all the major highways there is a minimum speed limit of 40 mph so if you are not prepared to do this limit stay off the highway please.
Safe Driving Guidelines
When you first head out into this scary world just get into the right lane and settle into the posted speed limit. Keep back from the car in front of you by staying back about 4–5 car lengths which is a good safe distance when traveling at these higher speeds.
Safe Driving Distances
Another rule/guideline I have heard is to keep back about one car length for every 10 mph that you are traveling at…either way is fine. We will discuss in detail the art of passing and merging with other cars in the next article so hang tight till we get there as it’s a really important part of driving on the highways!
Also for many new/young drivers who live in rural areas of the country driving on highways will not be something you will do often however at some time you will find yourself on these super speedways. Maybe you will end up attending a college in a major city away from home or a new job has you moving into an area that requires you to travel the interstate system on a regular basis so you need to be prepared for this type of driving.
Motorway Driving Advice
So here are my random thoughts/observations that I think you need to be prepared for when venturing out on these sometimes crazy roads that can be full of all kinds of crazy drivers. First and foremost stay the heck out of the right lane as if you are not passing a car then you have no reason as in zero to be out there.
Driving in the middle and right lanes
Some drivers that I witness well you would think the right hand lane is the Holy Grail as they refuse to move out of this lane and it drives the rest of us nuts. So if you find yourself out there in this lane do your duty and pass the car that you are wanting to get around and get back into your original lane — plain and simple — there I feel better!
Another thing that drives us “normal” drivers crazy is the people who are constantly zig zaging in and out of lanes in an effort to make it some kind of sporting event. All they are doing is endangering us other “sane” drivers and when all is said and done they really are not saving that much time by driving like an “idiot”.
So when you find yourself out on these super speedways know that going 65–70 mph is plenty fast for wherever you may be going so stay within the speed limit is rule number one. So just settle in at a safe speed and use the right lane and enjoy your drive as there is no reason to push things out here. From time to time you might also encounter a pack of cars that are driving together and there is nothing wrong by jumping in and following them but remember two things.
First stay near the back and secondly don’t tailgate the driver in front of you as at these speeds you need plenty distance between you for anything that might go wrong. If you do find yourself in a pack that is exceeding the speed limit you do not want to be in the front as those are the ones that traditionally get the speeding tickets.
Additionally you will need to be constantly checking your rear view mirror for others that are approaching you from behind especially the police…just an FYI wink wink.
So switching gears let’s discuss driving at high speeds on the highway when you encounter rain…more than ever it is time to slow your tail down for goodness sake! I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have watched a car driving way to fast in the rain going straight ahead and then for no reason what so ever they lose control of their car, start spinning and wreck.
Hydroplaning – How to Control your Car
Well welcome to the world of what we call hydroplaning and this is something you do not want to be part of as it will scare the life out of you and your passengers!
Hydroplaning can happen at all speeds and on all roads not just on highways but here you are living dangerously because of the high speed you are traveling at. In a nutshell hydroplaning is when you are driving in the rain usually at a pretty fast speed and a layer of water develops between your tires and the road itself.
The result is you lose control of your car and the ability to steer it and for the most part you completely lose control of your car. I will explain further about this and other rain events that you need to be aware of.When you are out on the highway that is the only time you should be using the cruise control feature that you might have on your car as it’s perfect for highway driving but only when traffic is light around you.
There is no reason to even try to use it on the back roads as there are too many stops and slowing down events that goes on there to find any value is using cruise control. I will repeat this in the weather article but just a reminder here do not I repeat do not use cruise control on the highways in the rain as this can only lead to trouble so please trust me on this!
Lastly another thing you will soon learn is that it is not fun being stuck on the highway in traffic as you have no real options to exercise. It’s not like when you are on the back roads and when coming up on traffic you can turn around or pull off on some side street as on highways you are basically trapped until you reach the next exit ramp.
Stay Out of the Emergency Lane
Unless you are on the way to the hospital where a doctor is waiting to do open heart surgery or you are driving your wife who is expecting a baby at any second well my friend you are stuck so deal with it!
Don’t even think about being one of those idiots who sneak off on the emergency lanes to pass everyone as I only hope a police officer is waiting for you up ahead with one nice ticket/fine. If you are alone just settle in and find a good radio station to listen to or put in one of your favorite CD’s and relax as there is nothing you can do about it.
All the pounding on the dash, honking of your horn or yelling at the cars in front will not help one single bit so relax. If you are going to be late to work or for an important appointment just pull off the road and call ahead to let everyone know your status…it happens to all of us sooner or later.
Old Cars and Motorways
Now just a little heads up/advice in that if you have an older model car that tends to overheat do us all a favor and stay in the left lane so if you car acts up you can pull off the road and not add to the already bad traffic by stalling in a traffic lane!