Merging is done when two roadways join into one and the traffic on the main roadway must cooperate to allow enough space for vehicles to enter from the merging lane. Neither the merging vehicle nor the vehicles already on the highway have the right-of-way. Merging is a shared responsibility between the vehicles joining the roadway and the vehicles already on the roadway.
Avoid reducing your speed abruptly or stopping when merging. This merging lane is designed to allow you to bring your vehicle to the posted speed of the road onto which you are merging. The drivers behind you are expecting you to continue moving ahead. If you slow or stop, your vehicle may be hit from behind.
Here are some tips on merging safely:
- Merging requires that you plan and time your approach to blend smoothly with traffic, without stopping or abruptly reducing your speed.
- Check the traffic flow on the highway as soon as you can see the lane where you will be merging.
- Choose your gap in the traffic, and begin adjusting your speed, if required. Keep glancing at the gap you chose to ensure you are making the speed and timing adjustments necessary to safely merge without affecting traffic.
- Use your signal light before or when you are on the acceleration lane.
- Accelerate to the speed of the traffic on the main road.
- Keep shoulder checking to view the gap and look in your rear view mirror for vehicles following you.
- When it is safe and legal, move into the gap after you are past the solid white line of the acceleration lane. Maintain your speed at or near the speed of the other vehicles.
- Ensure your signal light is turned off.
If you are on the main roadway, and traffic is merging, move left to the next lane if it is safe. This leaves the right travel lane clear for the merging vehicles to enter.
Here are some tips on how to exit a major roadway or highway safely:
- Plan ahead. Be in the proper lane well before you reach your exit.
- Use your turn signal well in advance of the exit to alert the drivers behind you.
- Move into the deceleration lane if there is one.
- If possible, do most of the slowing in the deceleration lane. Some deceleration lanes are short; you may need to start to reduce your speed while still on the highway.
- When you have exited, ensure your signal light is turned off.
- If you miss your exit, do not stop.
Continue to the next exit and make plans to return to your route. Do not stop and reverse on the highway, the emergency stopping lane or shoulder.
On some roadway interchanges, there are places where the highway entrance and exit use the same lane. The entrance and exit can be close together. These areas require caution and cooperation because vehicles share the same lane to slow to exit the highway while other vehicles are using it to increase speed to enter the highway. The area that these vehicles share is called a weave zone.
In weave zones, control your speed and the timing of your lane change to merge with other traffic. This requires skillful use of time and space. Use caution in these zones to ensure safe highway exiting and entering for all vehicles.
Curves require special attention. Here are some things to remember about curves:
- If you need to reduce your speed, do it before entering the curve, and stay centred in your lane.
- To stay centred in your lane, look well ahead and around the curve. This will assist you with steering and speed control.
- Maintain a safe and steady speed after entering the curve.
- Do not pass vehicles on curves on highways with one lane in each direction. It is unsafe and illegal.
- Curves become more dangerous when wet or icy as these conditions make them slippery.
On a curve, your vehicle will want to go straight ahead, due to kinetic energy, even though you are turning the wheels. If your tires lose traction with the road as you enter or travel around a curve to the left (vehicle A), your vehicle may skid to the right side of the road. If this happens, stay off the accelerator and brake.
If your tires lose traction with the road as you enter a curve to the right (vehicle B), your vehicle may skid into oncoming traffic. If you skid in a curve, stay off the brake and the accelerator. Continue to look in the direction you want to go, and make small steering adjustments to come out of the skid.
Hills also require special attention. Remember the following when travelling up a hill:
- Use caution and move to the right in your lane as you approach the top of a hill. This may keep you from being hit by an oncoming vehicle that has crossed over the centre line and is in your lane.
- Do not pass near the top of a hill on a two lane highway, as you cannot see what is ahead of you.
Remember the following when travelling down a hill:
- If the hill is very steep, adjust your speed. The time it takes you to stop will increase when travelling down a hill.
- In a vehicle with a standard transmission, shifting to a lower gear can reduce the risk of your brakes overheating.