Driving is a casual activity if you are experienced and probably mastered the route you usually use. Lane changing seems to be the only aspect of driving that both experienced and new drivers find hard to master. Lane changing can be quite a challenge because there is the aspect of multitasking among other variables that are not within your control. Because of the many factors in play when changing lanes, I thought it is wise to come up with an article that will help you improve your lane changing skills. How to change lanes may prove to be the most important aspect of driving because other drivers are passively involved every time you switch lanes.
Before you decide to change lanes, you need to be aware of your surrounding and focus on anything that may interfere with your lane change. Such other factors may include, pedestrians, trailing vehicles, your driving speed and the speed of the car in front of you. The article aims to give you the correct lane changing techniques and when it is necessary to switch lanes.
What You Need to Change Lanes
- The car signal indicator to warn other drivers of your intention to move to the next lane.
- The rear-view mirror especially when overtaking and changing lanes at the same time.
- Blind spot and Glare Eliminator ( BGE ) mirror setting to reduce the glare effect and the blind spots.
- You need to judge your own speed, the speed of the car in front of you and the car trailing you. Make sure you are aware of your surrounding as well.
How to Change Lanes
1. Changing Lanes
Changing lanes as already stated is a combination of many other aspects of driving. A lane change may mean overtaking another vehicle or moving to another intersection.
Step #1: Check Your Mirrors
Make use of your side mirrors to make sure that no other driver has an intention of doing the same manoeuvre. The best way to judge if you have enough space to manoeuvre is to look in the rear view mirror.
Tip: make sure you can see the entire front part of the vehicle trailing you, this way you can be sure that the space you have is enough.
Step #2: Check Your Blind spots by quickly glancing over your shoulder
If you do not have the BGE mirror setting. A quick glance will enable you to see any unexpected obstacle and judge the exact speed of the trailing traffic.
Step #3: Signal in the Direction of Intent
In a practical sense, you should signal the moment you shoulder check. Signaling will alert other drivers that you intend to move in a particular direction and they will slow down to give way. A good driver will always signal you to move in either by flashing his or her light or just a simple honk.
Step #4: Steer in the Desired Direction
Ensure that there is clearance and no one is approaching too fast. And gradually drive your car into the next lane. It is advisable to maintain the same speed you are driving at and make no attempt to slow down.
Now that you already know the simple rules of changing lanes, I will also talk about other aspects of overtaking or passing other motorists as while changing lanes.
Passing may take place when you want to move past a slow moving vehicle. You may find yourself in this situation when going past cyclists, service vehicles or other vehicles moving at a lower speed with the intention to change lanes. This is a day to day activities that require that basic skills in lane changing.
Follow these steps to pass a vehicle:
Step #1: Turn on the Left Signal
Use the left signal to indicate your intention to pass and make sure that there is a clear way ahead of you.
Step #2: Watch out for other road users
Before you make the final move make sure that there are no hidden vehicles that may have been out of view when you signalled. Look for any vehicle or pedestrians making an entry into the road.
Step #3: Change the Lane
With your signal already on, change the lane and before you make a re-entry to the lane signal back (using the right signal). This will alert other road users of your intentions. Avoid the sudden move back to the lane. Remember the side mirror tip (make sure the front part of the trailing vehicle is visible before re-entry).
Tip: If the car you are passing seems to have increased speed, do not race, slow down and let it pass.
3. Passing at Night
How do you go about changing lanes or passing when it’s dark?
Step #1: Change your headlights to low beam
If there is a car in front of you, change the intensity of your lights to low beam.
Step #2: Turn on the Signal
Check your mirrors and confirm your blind spots are clear. Turn on the signal and pass. Make sure that when you are passing, you turn your lights to full beam to get a clear view of the road ahead.
Step #3: Signal and move back to the right lane
When there is enough distance between you and the car behind you, move back to the right lane.
Tip: You will notice that a pass is mainly done on the left side of the road and can only happen if you are using a multi-lane highway. Passing is also acceptable if you are using a one-way road when the car in front of you is taking a left turn.
4. Changing Lanes at A Roundabout
Changing lanes in a roundabout is a tricky affair especially for new drivers. If you are changing lanes in a roundabout with multiple exits, observe the following:
Step #1: Check Mirrors and Blind spots
First use the mirrors, and blind spots and make a signal in the direction you intend to go. If you are not able to get enough space to move to the next lane, go round the roundabout, and try to get space on the next turn. If possible, you may take an alternative exit.
Step #2: making a 180-degree turn
If you are going to make a 180-degree turn from your point of entry, stay on the left or the center lane if you intend to go straight.
Step #3: Making Turns over 180 degrees
This may be dependent on any road markings that available. The general rule is to stay on the right-hand lane.
Quick Tips for Safe Lane Change
- Always be aware of your surrounding
- Maintain the traffic speed when changing lanes
- Keep your steering wheel steady
- Do not turn the steering wheel when moving it to the next lane, just a simple glide will do
- If possible avoid changing lanes at intersections
Driving is a never ending practice that needs a careful approach especially when driving at night or on highways with lanes moving at different speeds. Changing lanes involves a series of simple steps that if you do them correctly your safety and that of other motorists will be guaranteed. I believe that the article has covered the important steps that you need to master on how to change lanes in different scenarios.
If you are in charge of teaching another reason on the basic principles of changing lanes, your comments or tips will be highly appreciated because we all want to be home safe.