There’s something freeing about hitting the highway for the first time on your own. You’ve worked hard for this moment—you’ve practiced with friends and family, took driving courses, and learned to parallel park in order to earn your license. Soon, you’ll be cruising the interstate with ease, but right now, you might be a little nervous about driving without a passenger for the very first time.
It’s completely normal to feel a little anxiety up until the moment you’re driving on the highway for the first time alone. Even people with years of driving under their belt may experience a case of the nerves when hitting the freeway.
If you’re preparing to tackle the interstate for the first time or just for the first time in a long time, check out these tips for driving on the highway to help you conquer the road ahead, confidently, and safely.
Tips for driving on the highway
Communication is key.
If you’re wondering how to drive on the interstate safely, go back to the basics. When we get behind the wheel, we’re directing a literal ton of metal. That’s a lot of power! And with great power comes great responsibility…responsibility to communicate that is. It is crucial to let other drivers know your intentions for the safety of everyone on the road.
Here are a few ways you can ensure you’re communicating with the drivers around you.
1. Use your turn signals.
Always use your turn signals. Make sure you’re practicing the three crucial driving laws to properly give the drivers around you enough time to notice the flashing light to merge before you make your move.
2. Use your horn, appropriately.
All vehicles are equipped with a horn, and while it may be tempting to smash it in when you’re frustrated, that isn’t the best use for it. Instead, it’s best to use your horn in order to let other’s know where you are in order to avoid collisions, not when someone cuts you off, though we’ve all been there.
3. Know your vehicle’s layout.
In order to use your turn signals, horn, lights, and other methods drivers commonly use to communicate, you need to know where everything is. Familiarize yourself with your car (especially if it’s different than the car you’ve practiced driving in), and make sure you know where all the bells and whistles are.
When we’re running late, we can get frazzled. Wherever you’re headed, give yourself plenty of time to get there. This will allow you to practice patience when you’re driving, ensuring that you have the proper amount of time and clearance before you make any moves while behind the wheel. You can practice patience by…
- Not skipping the small stuff – always take the time to check blind spots before you merge.
- Giving yourself time – merge early to avoid any hiccups in getting over to the right lane.
- Taking deep breaths – It might be that your short trip didn’t go as planned and you ran into traffic or construction. That’s okay! These tips can help you manage stress when your drive changes.
Check the clock.
Sitting in traffic can put anyone on edge, especially when you have someplace to be. Before you hit the highway for the first time, check the clock. Are people heading out to lunch? Is it a peak commute time? Will it be dark soon? Feel free to plan around these factors and use these drive safe apps to help you plan your trip before you hit the road.
The bottom line.
You’ve earned this! It might be a little scary, but we hope it’s fun, too. Driving on the highway for the first time solo is can be a fun and freeing experience. It’s our sincere hope that these tips give you the knowledge and confidence boost you need to enjoy the road ahead, wherever it takes you.