Driving on the highway can be risky business if you're not on the lookout. Make sure you know the ins and outs of staying safe on these busy roads with our handy tips.
Highways are the blood life of travelling and commuting - and also notorious for how fast an accident can happen on them. Watch this short video to help you stay safe on the highway:
If you can't watch the video right now, here's a summary:
Highways get us where we want to be quickly and efficiently. To negotiate on these important roads and stay safe, we need to become aware of the unique set of hazards and rules that apply to them.
Watch your following distance
- Keeping a two-second following distance is a good start.
- Double this time to four seconds when it's wet.
- Use your mirrors often and check your blind spots before changing lanes. Drivers generally have two blind spots that mirrors don't cover: check them by quickly looking 90° right and left. Also remember to stay out of other drivers' blind spots.
- When driving past any highly populated roadside settlements, slow down. This will help you react if pedestrians (or stray animals) unexpectedly cross the road.
On and off the highway ramps
- When approaching on ramps, choose the best gear for the situation. Joining or exiting the highway too slowly interrupts the flow of traffic - adjust your speed accordingly. Allow other vehicles coming on to the highway to merge into the left lane, or move over to the right if you're clear to do so.
- When approaching off-ramps, check your blind spots.
- Assess the speed of other vehicles and anticipate there may be robots as you exit the off-ramp, so it's best to slow down. Reducing your speed also helps avoid unforeseen traffic jams and road hazards.
- If you miss an off-ramp, don't reverse or do a U-turn. It's illegal and highly dangerous.
Using those headlights
- Night driving calls for less speed and more awareness. When visibility dips under 150m, turn the headlights on. You should always be able to react and stop within the distance of your illuminated headlight field.
- If oncoming vehicles approach, dim your beams and they should do the same for you.
- Focus on the yellow line on the left of the road, not the approaching lights, as this can blind you for up to seven seconds.
- Road signs become more visible at night and cat's eyes indicate the road direction. If the cat's eyes are red, it means no overtaking.
- Rain and fog restrict your vision, which affects your reaction time and stopping distance if there are hazards on the road. When in doubt, slow down.
- Only switch on your fog lights when driving through mist. Using them in other conditions is illegal. Also, brake lights are smaller than vehicle lights, making them easy to miss when visibility is bad.
- Hazards like trucks require constant awareness. When overtaking a truck, leave a gap between its back and your front to keep a clear field of vision for oncoming traffic. When coming off the highway at an off-ramp, try not to be the first or second car next to a truck. Else, you might be hit by their axle, as they can take wide turns and cut into the next lane.
- Motorbikes are another potential highway hazard. Check your blind spots when changing lanes to make sure no motorbikes are around.
- Be cautious around cars with out-of-town number plates; they might not know the area and make unexpected manoeuvres.
- Always keep an eye out for escape routes - the shoulder of the road is there when you need it.
As long as you're driving on the highway, train your brain to do things right. Be observant, stay aware, don't speed and always be on the lookout for other road users and motorists.
Ready your car for the road with a MultiPoint check
Did you know you can earn Vitality drive points at Tiger Wheel & Tyre? All you need to do is take your vehicle to your nearest branch for an Annual MultiPoint check for only R95.
The check covers your tyres, windscreen, windscreen wipers, lights, indicators, seatbelts, steering wheel, hooter, shocks, spare, jack, locknut, wheel spanner and triangle. You also earn 100 Vitality drive points if your car passes the inspection and another 50 points if your car's service history is up to date. Learn more here.
Bigger and better rewards for driving well
In 2018, Vitality drive Active Rewards is getting is bigger and better! You can now get a coffee, smoothie, popcorn, airtime or discounted car wash every week for 100 kms of consecutive event-free driving.
Plus, if you achieve a 3-in-a-row goal streak, you can win exciting prizes, including an international dream holiday.
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