How to Stay Safe on the Highway

Driving on the highway can be nerve-racking. However, by familiarizing yourself with basic highway safety, you can help ensure you get from point A to point B with minimized risk. By paying attention to the road, practicing defensive driving, and taking care of your vehicle, you can feel safe and confident behind the wheel.

EditSteps

EditPaying Attention to the Road

  1. Eliminate distractions like phones, loud music, or eating. All of these things divert your attention from driving, and can put you and others at risk for accidents. If you need to do anything that could inhibit your ability to focus on the road, simply pull over.[1]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 1 Version 2.jpg
  2. Pull over if you’re tired. If you’re half asleep, it will be difficult for you to concentrate on driving. If you catch your eyes starting to close, or you drift, this is sign you shouldn’t be on the road anymore. Find a rest stop or a hotel so you don’t endanger yourself or others.[2]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 2 Version 2.jpg
  3. Check your mirrors regularly. This will help you to be continuously aware of the drivers that are beside and behind you. Make sure your mirrors are properly positioned to minimize blind spots.[3]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 3 Version 2.jpg
  4. Follow posted traffic regulations. Keep an eye out for all traffic notifications, such as speed limit, safety, construction, and hazard signs. These will help guide your driving and lower your risk for accidents.[4]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 4 Version 2.jpg

EditDriving Defensively

  1. Avoid tailgating other vehicles. Getting too close to other cars can instigate road rage, and can also lead to accidents when people have to break quickly or lose control of their car. Try to leave at least a 3 second gap between you and the car in front of you.[5]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  2. Distance yourself from erratic or aggressive drivers. If a car is hectically changing lanes, fluctuating speeds repeatedly, swerving, or tailgating, try to put as much space as possible between you and them.[6]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 6 Version 2.jpg
  3. Make yourself visible to other drivers. Use your headlights whenever the road and other cars are hard to see. Anytime it is foggy, overcast, raining, sleeting, snowing, dusk, dawn, or dark, your headlights will help you see others, and others see you. Make sure to use your turn signal any time you are changing lanes.[7]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 7 Version 2.jpg
  4. Make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. Not wearing a seatbelt puts you at an enormously higher risk for death or injury. Seatbelts cut your risk for accident fatality by 45%, and cut your risk for injury in half.[8]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 8 Version 2.jpg
  5. Prepare for accidents or mechanical issues. Keeping a first aid kit, jumper cables, a fire extinguisher, a jack, and a spare tire can help you handle a wreck or a car issue. Make sure you have an emergency contact in your phone just in case.[9]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 9 Version 2.jpg

EditTaking Care of Your Vehicle

  1. Take your car for an inspection before any long trips. Have your mechanic check your fluid levels, tire pressure, and do an overall diagnostic of your car to make sure it’s safe for travel. Be sure to repair any mechanical problems that could put you in danger before driving.[10]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 10 Version 2.jpg
  2. Wash your windshield, windows, and mirrors. Dirty glass makes it difficult to see outside of your car while you are driving, increasing your risk of not seeing something.[11]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 11.jpg
  3. Ensure your lights all work. This includes your low beams, high beams, brake lights, taillights, and turn signals. Check to make sure their encasements are clean. Having all of your lights in working order is extremely important for overall visibility on the road.[12]
    Stay Safe on the Highway Step 12.jpg

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