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Tips for being a safer highway driver

Highway driving has a number of dangers you don't experience when driving on surface streets. The increased speed limits, for example, can make it difficult to respond quickly to someone making an unexpected move. You're also more likely to encounter large trucks and other commercial vehicles than you are when driving near your home.

It's no wonder that teens and others just learning to drive often put off driving on highways and interstates for as long as possible. These nervous, inexperienced drivers can make highway driving more dangerous for everyone else.

If you're helping your teen gain experience driving before they take the road test for their license, there are things you can do to help make it safer for them. Once they've had a few safe outings on the highway, they'll gain confidence. However, that doesn't mean they should forget the precautions they've learned. Let's look at a few.

Entering the highway: Just getting on the highway from the on-ramp can be anxiety-inducing. Enter the highway at or near the speed of traffic as soon as you have enough room. If cars are forced to slow down to let you in, you could cause a serious crash.

Stay in the right lane: This lane is intended for slower vehicles. You should still remain at the speed limit (unless conditions warrant going slower). However, those behind you who want to go faster can always move over.

Use your turn signal: Too many drivers fail to do this. However, turn signals are essential to letting other drivers know your intentions. If you're going to change lanes or get off the highway, be sure to signal accordingly.

Keep an eye out ahead of you: Faster speeds means it's important to see what's up ahead so you have time to react. Don't just focus on the car in front of you. Look farther down the road. Always check and re-check your rear-view and side mirrors so you know what's going on around you.

Doing all of these things can help you avoid causing an accident or being the victim of one. However, if you're injured in a crash caused by a driver who isn't driving safely, remember that you can and should seek the compensation you need to deal with medical bills and other expenses and damages.

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