Okay, I don’t know about the rest of the people out there, but when my dad taught me how to drive, he told me some basic rules about getting on the highway and general politeness about driving on a highway. Obviously these things don’t apply all at the same time, there are varying circumstances.
1. When you get on the ramp that puts you onto the freeway (called an on-ramp) you should generally be doing the speed limit (in most cases this is sixty (60) miles per hour. You find this number on a little thing behind your steering wheel called a “speedometer”.). This allows you to merge easily into traffic without causing the car that you cut in front of to slam on their brakes… which could cause a fatal collision of that person’s car with the person who was travelling at sixty miles per hour behind them.
2. There is a yield sign at the end of each “on-ramp”. This yield sign means that if you can’t get into traffic from the lane you are in, you need to stop and let the traffic go past you first. You do not muscle your way into the lane. Yes, I am aware that this sometimes voids rule number one, but for your safety and the lives of other drivers, it is important to note that these yield signs exist.
3. The speed limit is posted on a sign at the side of the freeway. The sign is white with black letters with the number of miles per hour being slightly larger than your head. It is very easy to read in a split second, and is reflective so you can see it at night too! (Isn’t that novel?) It is polite to other drivers to drive at the speed limit, unless road conditions or construction do not permit you to do so.
4. When getting off the highway it is necessary to be aware of which lane you need to be in to exit, somewhat in advance. The exits are clearly marked with bright green signs with white writing on them. These signs are also reflective. They also sometimes have a yellow sign below them that says “exit only”. This indicates which lanes lead to the exit. If you are driving in this lane and do not wish to exit, it is necessary to turn on your “turn signal” to merge into the next lane. The turn signal is that little stick thing that sits behind your steering wheel. You may need to blow the dust off of it first.
I hope that knowing these rules have helped you to become a safer, better driver. I also hope that the next time you consider cutting in front of that little old lady on the highway, you realize that your consideration for her safety might just save your own life.