Although freeways have a far better accident record than any other of our roads, any collision that does happen is usually more severe because of the higher speeds involved. Many freeway accidents could be easily avoidable by following a handful of simple guidelines:
1. Whenever joining the freeway, remember that you need to give way if necessary to the traffic already there – don’t force your way in if there’s not a suitable gap.
2. Always comply with the speed limit, and alter it when required to match the road conditions.
3. Maintain your distance from other vehicles at all times. In dry conditions, you should allow at least a 2 second gap between your car and the one in front, whilst in bad visibility or on wet, slippery roads you should raise this to at least 4 seconds.
4. Be prepared to anticipate the unpredictable actions of other drivers. Pay extra attention when nearing intersections where traffic is joining the motorway.
5. Pay close awareness to any motorway signs; these can pre warn you about any dangers ahead, such as bad weather conditions, any sort of accident, flooding, broken down vehicles or road works.
6. Always make good use of all your mirrors and make certain you keep examining them so you are aware of the position of the various other cars on the road. The greater quantity of traffic on motorways makes regular use of mirrors particularly important.
7. Observe lane discipline; you should stay in the inside lane unless you are overtaking a slower vehicle. It is recommended that you get out of the pattern of considering that the inside lane is only for slow vehicles and the central and outside lane are for faster cars; the majority of tailbacks and accidents on freeways are caused by people hogging the center lane – make certain you utilize it for overtaking only.
8. Under no circumstances undertake or pass on the left unless you are in a queue and the traffic on your right is moving more slowly than you are.
9. At all times indicate when changing lanes and make sure that you look at your mirrors and over your shoulder before changing lane.
10. Ensure you take regular breaks at service areas; you ought to aim to rest for 15 minutes every 2 hrs. Nevertheless, if you feel yourself becoming tired, don’t stop on the hard shoulder; pull off at the next junction instead.
So next time you are about to head out on a freeway journey, be sure you bear these 10 guidelines in mind.