10 Tips For Driving on the Freeway in California

Does freeway driving feel like a highway to the danger zone? 

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. According to a recent California teen driving study we commissioned, 52% of parents say their teen lacks confidence with freeway driving. Respondents who lived in rural areas were 25% more likely to say this.

Parents also feel nervous about teaching their teens to drive on the highway. According to our driving study, 68% of parents say it’s hard to prepare their teen for freeway driving, and 43% of those parents say they don’t feel comfortable putting their teen behind the wheel on the freeway.

It’s normal to feel a little anxious about freeway driving. But hear this: You can learn to drive on the highway, and Aceable is here to help! 

Here are our 10 best tips for freeway driving in California.

Freeway Driving Tip #1: Merge at the speed of traffic. 

The first thing you’ll need to do when driving on the freeway is enter the acceleration lane and try to merge. The acceleration lane eventually ends, which means drivers are forced to merge. You’ll want to put your blinker on and accelerate to match the flow of traffic. Use your mirrors to look for a gap in the traffic. When it’s safe to move over into the next lane, make your move. 

Freeway Driving Tip #2: Maintain a safe following distance. 

Now that you are cruising down the freeway, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping a safe following distance between your car and the one in front of you. To find your following distance, count the seconds that go by between the time the car in front of you passes a fixed point (such as a tree) and when your car passes that same point. The longer your following distance is, the longer you will have to react if another car changes lanes unexpectedly or slams on the brakes. Typically, you want at least three seconds of following distance, but for higher speeds or less-than-ideal road conditions, you will want to increase your following distance to four seconds or more. 

Freeway Driving Tip #3: Look before you change lanes. 

Before changing lanes, always check your mirrors and look over your shoulder to ensure there are no vehicles in your blind spots. Let other drivers know you are changing lanes by using your turn signals. 

Freeway Driving Tip #4: Don’t drive too fast, but also don’t drive too slow. 

Speeding is dangerous, but driving too slowly can also cause problems. Try to stay with the flow of traffic without speeding. That’s the sweet spot for freeway driving.

Freeway Driving Tip #5: The left lane is for faster traffic and passing.

If you're driving slower than the other cars, stick to the right lane. If you're going faster or need to pass a car, use the middle and left lanes.

Freeway Driving Tip #6: Pay attention. 

Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in other activities that take your attention away from driving. This is super important always, but especially when you are driving on the freeway.

Freeway Driving Tip #7: Stay in your lane.

Don’t put yourself and others in danger by weaving in and out of traffic. This is not a chase scene in a movie! It’s safest to stay in one lane unless you need to exit or pass someone. 

Freeway Driving Tip #8: Always be scanning. 

Continuously scan the road around you. Being observant helps you anticipate potential hazards and react accordingly.

Freeway Driving Tip #9: Make an exit plan. 

If you know your exit is approaching, make sure you are in the appropriate lane well in advance. This prevents last-minute lane changes, which are stressful and dangerous.

Freeway Driving Tip #10: Remember that highways are designed with drivers’ safety in mind.

The experts who design highways put all sorts of safety features in place to protect drivers. 

Some of those safety features include: 

  • Signs indicating safe speeds for turning, entering, or exiting the freeway 

  • Wide lanes and shoulders that give you extra space to maneuver

  • Special lane separators that make your car vibrate when you start to cross them

You can feel confident driving on the freeway knowing it has been thoughtfully created with your safety in mind.

Overcome Your Freeway Fears with Aceable Drivers Ed!

It’s okay to be a little nervous when you drive on the highway. In fact, that little bit of fear might actually make you extra aware of your surroundings and help keep you safe. 

Here’s a quick summary of the 10 tips for freeway driving:

Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and take that first step toward becoming a confident, safe driver? Sign up for drivers ed today!

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