Just as your teen needs to be prepared to drive in urban areas, your teen also needs to know the ins and outs of driving on the highway! The first time your teen drives on the highway can be intimidating. Ensure that you prepare your teen by sharing these useful tips! I put this blog post together as it is the National Safety Month hosted by the National Safety Council. I will cover the use of cruise control, passing on single and multi-lane highways, and other highway rules.
Cruise control allows the driver to set a speed that they would like the vehicle to maintain. Your teen must understand when cruise control should and should not be used. Cruise control is great for quiet days on the highway when the weather permits. In any case, where there is heavy rain, snow, ice, traffic, or adverse weather, it is best NOT to use cruise control. Emphasize to your teen that although the vehicle maintains the speed, your teen still needs to pay full attention to the road.
Is your vehicle equipped with adaptive cruise control? If so, what is the difference? Adaptive cruise control is where the vehicle monitors other vehicles ahead, and if your vehicle gets too close, your vehicle will automatically slow down. However, the adaptive feature does not change the rule; your teen still needs to pay full attention to the road!
Passing on a Multi-Lane Highway
Passing on a multi-lane highway is very similar to passing in an urban setting where there are multiple lanes; however, you are usually traveling at higher speeds. To safely pass another vehicle on a multi-lane highway, your teen should always:
It is important to remember that the highway’s left lane is deemed for faster-moving traffic and passing. Stay in the right-hand lane unless passing another vehicle.
Passing on a Single-Lane Highway
Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky and daunting for new drivers. Passing on single-lane highways needs to be calculated and executed safely. To pass on a single lane highway, your teen will need to have a visual of oncoming traffic. Once there is no oncoming traffic, if the road permits (dotted yellow lines), and a shoulder check has been completed, your teen may pass the vehicle in front of them by using their indicator, passing the vehicle, and moving back into the proper lane. When driving with your teen, ensure that you show them how to make an appropriate calculation to judge if it is safe to overtake the vehicle in front of them. Head-on collisions on the highway have a significant chance of severe injury and even fatality.
Other Highway Tips
Just as your teen would in an urban setting, scanning the road is critical. On the highway, your teen should be scanning for the following. Scanning the road allows your teen to prepare for an upcoming situation and manage and deal with it safely to avoid a collision.
Planning the route ahead of time reduces the chance of any confusion and abrupt driving. Plan the route together before getting into the vehicle.
Be aware of adverse weather. Weather changes can come on quickly in many of our regions, and it is best to be prepared. Advise your teen to increase the following distance between them and the vehicle in front. If the weather conditions become too dangerous, advise your teen to pull over safely on the highway. It is best to try and pull into a rest-stop or where the shoulder is wider.
Educating your teen is the first step in ensuring that they become a safe and confident driver. The more educated they are about different driving situations, the better prepared they will be once they have the practice hours to reinforce the lessons. To learn more about coaching your teen, visit our homepage to learn about the Coaching New Drivers program!