For people who don't regularly drive on highways and interstates, merging onto these busy roads can be one of the most frightening aspects of driving on them. One of the most common errors that drivers make is to not get fully up to the speed of the traffic on the road before they merge onto it from the onramp.
As one defensive driving expert says, "Most people on the expressway never expect traffic to stop or alter its course, and they drive that way." Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that drivers aren't going to be prepared to slow down to let you in and get up to speed.
State Farm offers some tips for safer merging. In addition to getting up to speed to match that of the traffic on the road (or at least the lane you're merging into), these include the following:
- Yield to the motorists on the highway, but don't stop on the onramp unless it's necessary.
- Look for the vehicle you want to get behind rather than the one you want to merge in front of, preferably where you've got at least a 3-second traffic gap.
- Don't merge until the solid line in the roadway has ended.
- Merge only into the nearest lane. Then move over one lane at a time if you want to be in a lane further over. Remember to put your turn signal on before your initial merge and each lane change.
- Never assume that someone will allow you to merge.
Entrance and exit ramps can be among the most dangerous areas for drivers. Too many people don't realize their ramp is coming up until they've nearly passed it. Others don't follow the advice above or other common-sense safety precautions.
If you're injured by one of these drivers, make sure that you take the steps you need to get the compensation you need and deserve for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses and damages.