Safe Highway Driving

Vince L. | July 15, 2014
As summer comes upon us it is likely that a new driver will experience their first time driving beyond Calgary city limits. Camping, fishing, and hiking activities are after all, a favorite pass time of many Albertans'. The first trip can be daunting for some drivers and easy to others, it all depends on the level of experience that the driver has.

Driving inside of the city has its similarities to driving on rural highways; however there are very subtle differences. Understanding these differences and compensating for them will help make your drive safer and more comfortable.



Speed

When the road conditions are good and the traffic is low it is very easy to speed without even knowing it. Since traffic control lights are few and far between on a highway you can easily reach speeds above the limit, it can be hard to feel the difference intuitively between 110 Km/h and 140 km/h while on the road without other vehicles and markers

Here are some tips for driving on Alberta highways:
  • Using cruise control features can help you manage the speed of your vehicle.

  • Pay attention to other vehicles around you or other markers, they can be good indicators of speed.

  • Make a habit of periodically checking the speedometer to ensure you don't go to fast.

Stopping Distance



Traveling at speeds 100 km/h or more dramatically changes the stopping distance.

See below:
Calgary driving schools always point out that when travelling on rural highways signs can be easily missed, turns and junctions can appear suddenly.

Remember to slow down earlier to account for stopping distance.
 
Here are some tips:
  • Planning your routes either ahead of time or with GPS can help you prepare yourself for what's coming ahead.

  • Once you are travelling at a consistent speed use the "2 second rule" to gauge how much distance you will need to leave while following another vehicle.

  • Cruise control can help you maintain a safe speed while on the road helping to reduce the stopping distance.
Click here for more information on stopping distances

General tips for travelling by road:

  1. Avoid travelling alone, have a friend come along with you who can help you navigate and take turns driving.

  2. Plan ahead of time your route, your destination, and stops or service stations along the way.

  3. Always check your vehicle's fluid levels and tire pressure prior to leaving, and remember to stock up on the essentials for the trip.

  4. Always have a good night's rest before you set off. Prepare coffee, drinks, and snacks for the road.

  5. Not all roads are the same. Some roads may have pot holes and other dangers that come upon you suddenly, slow down and use caution when travelling on older roads.

  6. Bring the appropriate eyewear as your vision is your first line of defense towards hazards on the roads.


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