How do you safely pass other cars on the expressway?

I’ve been driving on the expressway to and from work for almost a year and I’m still not that comfortable passing other cars. Obviously if I get way in front of the car in the other lane I know I can pull in front of it, but in many cases there’s a gap between the car in front of me and the car in the other lane and I don’t know if I can safely pull into the other lane.

Almost every day I see other cars weaving in and out of lanes and I don’t know how they’re able to judge how to do that. Its particularly tricky for me to pass a car to the right and its more difficult to see when I’m clear.

I don’t really know how to practice because there’s no reset button if I make a mistake at 60+ mph.

7 Answers

  • look for a safe gap in between cars, put on your turn signal, turn your head and watch your blind spot, then change into the lane. you should not be slower than the other car behind you. what is “safe gap” depends on you and your car’s ability. good luck and be safe.

  • I always judge by looking in my side mirror. If you are passing on the left. Look in your left side mirror. If you can see the front of the car in that lane, you are well clear and it is safe to move into that lane – remember always increase speed as you are changing lanes. The same principle applies when passing on the right.

    Another important thing to remember is to check your blind spot as you are changing lanes (look over your shoulder out the side window of the back seat to check your blind spot).

    I don’t know about US road rules. But in my country, South Africa it is not lawful to pass other cars on the left (we travel on the left side of the road), I would have assumed that the opposite applies in the US (no passing on the right). This rule makes things a lot easier to judge where other cars are on the road.

  • It just takes practice. Don’t be too scared. Sometime, you may even have to tilt your head backwards to see the distance of cars before changing lanes. For the people who are weaving in an out, they have practice and speed. They have enough speed to quickly change lanes because they cross other cars in a second. So, as they cross the cars, they come in front of them.

  • Just turn on your left blinker for about 3 seconds to let left hand drivers know that you are coming into their lane, then just pull into the lane when there is a gap.

  • Do it slow and you’ll gradually learn and get faster.

    Don’t one day all of a sudden try to do it fast, that’s a crash.

    Like others say,

    1. turning signal before you change lanes. Turning signal is a “request”, asking your neighbor driver if it’s ok for you to change lanes. If your neighbor says yes, he’ll open a hole for you to move into.

    2. look in your side and rear view mirrors for fast oncoming traffic behind you.

    3. turn your head to the side and look at what’s next to you. No, your mirrors do NOT see cars next to you.

  • If you’ve stayed accident free for a year then it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it. The lane weavers usually get their comeuppance at the hands of the Highway Patrol or the tow-truck.

  • before i merge i was taught in driving school to not depend solely on the mirrors. I always do a quick over the shoulder look- to check blind spots and make sure no one’s there-this is after i turn on my blinker. when the coast is clear i go for it.

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