Safe Highway Driving Tips

Safe Highway Driving Tips

Six High-Speed Best Practices That May Just Save Your Life

Even with all the intelligent driver assistance features modern cars possess, the fact remains that vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of injury and death in this country. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were over 35,000 motor vehicle crashes that resulted in fatality in 2020. This equates to roughly 12 deaths per every 100,000 drivers.

Out of all the driving environments where accidents can occur, highways pose one of the biggest threats. The speed that vehicles travel on the highway means that drivers must be much more diligent about using best practices. The following are the top six ways you can mitigate your chances of being involved in an accident on the highway.

#1 – Always Be Mindful of the Posted Speed Limit

When drivers observe the speed limit, it means that traffic can continuously flow with a minimal chance of an incident. However, one speeding driver can change the entire dynamic on the highway, which is both a risk to themselves and those around them. Speeding drivers are at a higher risk of collision, especially during inclement weather.   

#2 – Avoid Tailgating

Following a vehicle too closely at high speeds is extremely dangerous. If the car in front of you suddenly slams their brakes, you won’t have sufficient time or distance to stop without rear-ending them. Further, you may get charged by law enforcement for following too closely. A best practice you can use is keeping one car length in front of you for every 10 mph you’re driving. For example, 60 mph equates to 6 car lengths.

#3 – Do Not Let Yourself Get Distracted

A couple seconds of distracted driving is all it takes for something catastrophic to occur. Things like texting while driving or taking your eyes off the road to tend to your children in the backseat leave you vulnerable to getting caught-off guard by the vehicles in your proximity. When traveling at high speeds, nothing is more important than staying focused on the road in front of you. If there’s something that you absolutely need to address, pull your vehicle over to a safe location so that you aren’t a hazard to other drivers.

 If you’ve shopped for new cars for sale in Houston lately, then you probably have heard about the infotainment upgrades many of the modern vehicles have. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are two great ways to minimize your phone distractions while delivering a hands-free experience for things like texting and asking for directions. Further, many modern vehicles now come with a full suite of driver assistance features. 

#4 – Always Be Alert While Driving

Alert driving means never getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication. Not only is intoxicated driving illegal, but it also impairs your ability to operate a car, making you a danger to yourself and others. Tired or drowsy driving is another danger of highway travel. If you feel that you are too tired to drive, pull over to a safe area like a rest stop or gas station so you can rest. 

#5 – Be Mindful of Road Conditions

When there is rain, sleet, snow, or ice on the road, vehicles traveling at high speeds have significantly less grip and braking ability. Keeping that in mind, drivers must be extra cautious about their speed and how close they are to other cars. Poor weather has been a long-time catalyst for high-speed accidents due to careless drivers who refuse to slow down and drive defensively.

#6 – Merge with Care

Merging onto the highway is one of the trickiest parts of high-speed driving. Remember, the entire point of the merge lane is that it provides enough road to accelerate and match the current speed of the cars on the highway. Use the proper signaling and confirm you have an opening before merging. Never assume the car next to you is letting you in without looking.

Finding the Best Vehicle for Highway Travel

Driving safely on the highway ensures you keep yourself and those around you out of harm’s way. A high-speed accident can have long-term consequences, so it’s important to take these driving best practices to heart whenever you’re behind the wheel.

Another thing you can do to mitigate your risk on the highway is by purchasing a vehicle that ranks high in the safety category. A good place to start is by checking out the IIHS website. Every year, they list their top safety picks for all major vehicle categories using a rigorous grading process. You can also run a search for “2023 safest vehicles,” which should return several results for top safety picks.  


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