First of all, before any trip check your vehicle properly. Check all the fluid levels(engine oil, brake fluid, and coolant). Don’t overload your car. Check tire pressure(Don’t forget your spare tire).
Carry all the important documents,i.e., your Driving License, RC of your car, insurance papers.
Now let’s get started
1.Stick to a particular speed
Main high speeds on the highway is easy as roads are wider and traffic is generally light. If there is a sign that shows a speed limit, use them as a guide and stick close to them. They are primarily for your safety and that of others on the road. The best thing to do is assess the road, see the conditions and set your pace.
2. Lane Changing
Switching lanes is among the most important driving manoeuvres. It becomes especially crucial on highways where most vehicles travel at high speeds. Do it wrong and the consequences can be lethal. One of the most common mistakes is driving in the wrong lane. Alter the speed of your vehicle according to tho the speed of the lane.
The right-most lane is just for overtaking. A slow-moving car can be dangerous here. Always give appropriate signals and keep an eye on the differential in speed.
3. Keep a safe distance between vehicles
While driving on highway keep a wide distance between your vehicle and those around you. Traffic is always unpredictable and there could be a situation where the vehicle ahead of you suddenly brakes. Safe distancing always buys you time to take appropriate action. Follow the 3-second rule. Look for a bridge or a signboard as a reference point and check the time you take ti get thereafter the car in front of you passes it. It is advised to keep a minimum of 3-second gap. At night, this should be increased to at least 5 seconds.
It might sound easy but according to a recent survey, of all accidents on high-speed roadways, the maximum occurs due to error of judgement when overtaking.
First, Anticipate the speed of the vehicle in front of you. Think movie, not snapshot, the former will help you judge speed, Check for approaching vehicles from behind before you pull over from lane. Make sure appropriate gear is selected. A higher gear will take more time, hence going to a lower gear is advised. Then overtake the vehicle accelerating smoothly. After crossing the vehicle don’t suddenly move back into the driving lane. Build a gap between yours and the overtaken vehicle and only once it seems appropriate, switchback. Remember, these directions are for dual carriageways.
For single carriageways, you have to be a lot more careful. Not only you have to keep an eye on approaching vehicles from behind but also on those coming towards you. Switch lanes only if the distance from oncoming traffic looks enough for you to complete the manoeuvre safely and flash your lights to signal approaching vehicles. Remember, when overtaking you are in the oncoming lane and you should exit it ASAP.
5. Proper signals
It very important that you notify other motorists on the road about your manoeuvre. Always indicate when you are changing lanes and in case you notice a diversion or an obstruction ahead that requires you to brake suddenly, turn on your hazard lights well before stopping.
6. Keep a check around using the mirrors
Mirrors on your car are like an extra set of eyes. It is highly important to check your mirrors constantly.
7. Take a break!
Stops at regular intervals are very crucial while driving on the highway for long. Almost 20% of the accident on highways happen due to fatigue. Driving for long on similar roads can lead to highway hypnosis. Keep changing the temperature of your cabin using AC and stay hydrated. If you feel drowsiness make it to a safe place, pull over and take a short nap. If you don’t alone keep swapping drivers. Also, avoid letting the fuel level drop below a quarter tank.
8. Rains(wet) roads
Driving in wet conditions increases the risk factor even more. There are many poorly maintained vehicles on the road which leak oils and fluids. Mixed with rainwater. this is a dangerous combination and if you’re not careful, the consequences can be lethal. Restrict your speed and avoid wet patches and puddles if you can. Avoid driving through pools of water at high speeds as this can lead to the loss of traction(aquaplaning) and your car could spin out of control.
For more read our blog in Driving in Rain
Also, avoid travelling at night as visibility is poor and lights from other vehicles can cause temporary loss of vision which can be lethal.
Stay calm and Drive Safely.