On Highways

As the name suggests, a highway is a high-speed, multi-lane corridor that allows vehicle to pass on higher speed as compared to urban traffic. Highways are built to connect several distant cities. Traffic moving in each direction is separated and special ramps are made that allow vehicles to enter and exit. Since vehicles travel faster on a highway than on other roads, so it becomes even more important to follow traffic rules as even a small mistake can be disastrous. In context to Indian traffic scenarios of highways, traffic of all sorts moves on highways including pedestrians, cyclists and two wheelers therefore, the drivers need to be very careful when they pass through by villages, townships or some habitat areas.

Safety on Highways

Always maintain speed limit. Even if the road seems empty or there is less traffic on highway, one is required to drive at a safe and steady speed. Always try to anticipate what's going to happen on the road ahead. Traffic should keep to the left and right lane should be used for the purpose of overtaking. Vehicles take longer to stop at higher speed so better anticipation is required. Stay clear of large vehicles. They block your view more than other vehicles because of their size. Keep distance from other vehicles. This will let you see clearly in every direction and will give you time and space to react. Do not cut off any vehicle when changing a lane or joining the highway. It is dangerous for a slower moving vehicle to cut in front of a faster moving vehicle.

A highway may have multiple lanes such as it may be a four lane, six lane or eight lane highway. On such multi lane highway, if a lane is designated for particular category of vehicle, it shall be displayed by road signs mounted overhead. Watch for such lane driving signs and drive vehicle in the designated lane only. According to the code of road signs launched by Indian Road Congress (IRC) in 2022, new road signs have been introduced in the Code of Practice for lane driving, lane enforcement and lane speed management. That implies that, if user notices such signs where specific speed limit is defined for a lane, or a lane is designated for a category of vehicle or there is speed camera enforcement is being practiced than the driver of the vehicle must follow the regulations displayed through these signs. This will ensure safety for all road users.

Entering a Highway

If a minor road is merging directly to a highway, then the driver of the minor shall stop his vehicle and watch for the traffic approaching from the highway. If the approach is clear then he should enter the highway. Now consider a highway where entrance ramp and acceleration lane are provided. In such case, the driver should first enter through the entrance ramp and hereby accelerate the vehicle to match the speed of the vehicles moving on highway before merging. As one goes along the highway entrance ramp, look ahead and check your mirrors and blind spots to assess the traffic to see where you will move into the nearest highway lane. As you leave the ramp and enter the acceleration lane, give indicator signal and increase your speed to merge smoothly with traffic.

Leaving a Highway

Similar to merging with a highway, leaving a highway also requires several cautions to be taken by the driver. First, never stop vehicle on the highway because it is unsafe and the driver of the vehicles coming behind you might not able to anticipate sudden stopping and may lead to a serious crash. Second, if you wish to exit a highway which does not have any exit ramp than keep your vehicle on the extreme left lane and gradually decrease the speed of the vehicle. Before you approach the point of exit indicate by turning on your indicators, watch the mirrors for the traffic coming from behind and carefully exit the highway.

If the highway has a deceleration lane and an exit ramp than gradually slow down speed of the vehicle, indicate that you are about to leave the highway, enter the deacceleration lane carefully and exit the highway. Remember do not slow down immediately and suddenly. Highway exits are put ahead far enough in advance for you to change lane safely. If you miss an exit, do not stop or reverse. Take the next exit.