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What is the safest speed on highway?

10 points to keep in mind while driving on highways

A long weekend often gives people enough time to take a road trip to a nearby destination for some rest and relaxation. Road trips entail driving on highways, often for significant periods of time. We take a look at some points that you should keep in mind when driving on highways:

1. Speed

Speed is one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to highway driving. Maintaining high speeds on highways is easy, as roads are wider and traffic is generally light. If there are signs that show a speed limit of 80kph, use them as a guide and stick close to it. It’s also a good practice to assess road conditions and set your pace accordingly.

2. Lane-changing

Switching lanes is among the most important driving manoeuvres. It becomes especially crucial on highways, where most vehicles travel at higher speeds. One of the most common mistakes is driving in the wrong lane. The right-most lane (fast lane) is meant just for overtaking, but is often misused as a driving lane. A slow-moving car can be a danger here.

If you need to change your lane, make sure you give the appropriate signal, keep an eye on the differential in speed, and move only once you’re sure there’s a safe gap.

Our Car — Tata Hexa — final report.- Omkar Dhas/Autocar India

3. Distance between vehicles

While driving on the highway, keep sufficient distance between your vehicle and the one in front, as it provides ample time to slow down and avoid a collision, if the person in front of you slams on the brakes. Always follow the three-second rule — look for a bridge or signboard as a reference point, and check the time you take to get there after the car in front of you passes it. It is advised to be a minimum of three seconds (longer would be preferable) when driving at night or in heavy rains or fog.

4. Appropriate signalling

While you should always be aware of the movements of vehicles around you, it is equally important that you notify other motorists on the road of your movements. Always indicate when changing lanes. In case you notice a diversion or an obstruction ahead that requires you to brake suddenly, turn on your hazards well before stopping and slow down. Make sure to indicate when re-joining the highway after a stop.

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5. Overtaking

Our Car — Tata Hexa — final report.- Omkar Dhas/Autocar India

Another crucial aspect of highway driving is overtaking — correct judgement and timing are the primary points of focus. When on a dual-carriageway, judge the speed of the car in front of you, and keep an eye out for vehicles in the adjoining lane or those approaching from behind.

If the way is clear, pull out from the lane and make your move. It’s advisable to drop down a gear, as it will aid in acceleration. Once you have overtaken the vehicle, build the gap between you and the overtaken vehicle, and only then switch back.

On single carriageways, follow similar steps as mentioned above, but keep an eye out for oncoming traffic. Only pull into the oncoming lane if you feel a vehicle is far enough to safely execute the manoeuvre.

6. Check mirrors

It is very important to check your mirrors constantly. Make it a habit to glance at all three mirrors at regular intervals, particularly if you plan to change lanes. While overtaking and changing lanes, the first thing to do is to check if a vehicle is approaching from the rear. Beware of blind spots, as mirrors cannot project the entire view. You can install blind-spot mirrors, which are basically small fish-eye mirrors that can be attached to the side mirrors, to give you a wider range and help reduce blind spots.

7. Pit stops

Stopping at regular intervals is crucial while on long highway drives, as driver fatigue can be very dangerous, especially at highway speeds. Remember to stay hydrated and occasionally adjust the air-con. A change in temperature helps you stay more alert. If you are too drowsy, take a quick nap by the side of the road or swap drivers if you aren’t alone. Also, avoid letting the fuel level drop below quarter tank, as fuel stations may be hard to come by in places.

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8. Rains/wet roads

When driving in wet conditions, restrict your speed and avoid wet patches and puddles as much as possible. Driving through pools of water at high speeds should be avoided at all costs, as it may lead to hydroplaning, wherein the tyres lose traction, causing the car to spin out of control. Also, avoid braking too hard, as it can lead to your vehicle skidding off the road or into another vehicle, due to the relative lack of grip. During heavy rains, keep the headlights on even during the day, as it helps other motorists see your vehicle. Use your hazards only if you come to a stop.

9. Night driving

Travelling during the night should be avoided as much as possible. However, if you must drive at night, proper visibility is essential. Keep your windshield clean and make sure all the lights are working. Aim the headlights as per your seating position and make sure you don’t set them too high, as they might disturb motorists ahead. Similarly, try not to use the high beam while overtaking, or when you are close to the vehicle ahead. Also remain alert at all times.

10. Breakdowns

In the event of a breakdown, it is important to keep calm and follow these steps. Slow down gradually and move to the shoulder of the highway. The car should be parked well under the shoulder lines, with the hazard lights on. Place the hazard triangle about ten to fifteen feet behind the car to warn other motorists. Examine the damage and accordingly call for assistance — it’s a good idea to have highway assistance contacts on hand or look for emergency call boxes. At night, switch on the interior lights to make the vehicle as visible as you can. Always try and stay in the vehicle until help arrives.

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What is the safest speed on highway?


What is Considered Speeding?

Speed is a contributing factor in approximately 26% of all traffic fatalities in America. High speeds make a crash more likely to occur because it takes longer to stop or slow down. They also make collisions more deadly because crash energy increases exponentially as speeds increase. Speeding endangers the lives of the speeder and other roadway users. Speeding is usually defined as driving in excess of the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions and can have dangerous consequences including:

  • Reducing a driver’s ability to negotiate curves or maneuver around obstacles in the roadway;
  • Extending the distance traveled before a vehicle can stop;
  • Increasing the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a hazard;
  • Increasing the risk of crashes and injuries because other vehicles and pedestrians may not be able to judge distance accurately.

According to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), there were nearly 23,000 speeding-related crashes in Tennessee from 2017 to 2019. 36% of those crashes involved drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office strives to reduce serious injuries and fatal crashes by educating the public on safe driving behaviors. Continue reading for more information and resources about speeding.

Tennessee Speeding Laws

The following statutes govern the establishment of speed limits in the State of Tennessee:

  • 55-8-152 Speed Limits – Penalties.
  • 55-8-153 Establishment of Speed Zones.
  • 55-8-156 Special Speed Limitations – Penalties.

Tennessee Code Annotated sets statutory maximum speeds at 70 MPH for interstate highways, 65 MPH for all other public roads (TCA §55-8-152). The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has authority to reduce the speed limit on highways on the state transportation system below the statutory maximums (TCA §55-8- 153). Municipalities are granted authority to lower the speed limits on any road within their jurisdiction, except for controlled access highways (TCA §55-8-153), but the speed may not exceed 55 MPH. Municipalities and counties have authority to set school speed limits in certain circumstances (TCA §55-8-152). The TDOT has authority to set speed limits for bridges in Tennessee (TCA §55-8-156). In order to establish a limit lower than the statutory limit, an engineering investigation is required.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office has taken care in the preparation of this FAQ, but the information it contains does not necessarily describe every situation you may encounter.

Speed limit signs are placed along roads and highways to alert drivers to the maximum speed they are allowed to travel on that roadway. Every one mile per hour (mph) reduction in vehicle speeds on urban streets results in a six percent decrease in traffic fatalities. Lower speed limits reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries for the following reasons.

  • Driving at high speeds can result in tunnel vision and decreased depth perception for the driver. At lower speeds, drivers have a wider field of vision and are more likely to notice other road-users.
  • At lower speeds, even if a crash does occur, the consequences will be less severe, especially if it involves a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist.
  • Driving at lower speeds enables drivers to stop within a shorter distance. The stopping distance of a vehicle is a combination of the distance travelled during the driver’s reaction time and the distance it takes for the car to stop after the brakes are applied. At higher speeds, a car travels further during this reaction time and the stopping distance is greater. This affects the rate of momentum at the point of a crash, and therefore the possibility of survival.

Speeding drivers are almost three times more likely to be involved in fatal or serious injury crashes. Speeding threatens the safety of everyone around you, lowers your reaction time, increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle, and reduces the effectiveness of occupant protection equipment.

  • If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let them by.
  • Give speeding drivers plenty of space. Speeding drivers may lose control of their vehicle more easily.
  • Adjust your driving accordingly. Speeding is tied to aggressive driving. If a speeding driver is tailgating you or trying to engage you in risky driving, use judgment to safely steer your vehicle out of the way.
  • Call local law enforcement if you believe a driver is following you or harassing you.
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Since 1993, Tennessee has used high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes as a tool to promote ridesharing to reduce congestion on urban interstates. The central concept for HOV lanes is to move more people rather than more cars. Each vehicle that travels in an HOV lane must carry the minimum number of people posted on the entrance signs. In Tennessee, that means at least two people. Exceptions include motorcycles and hybrid vehicles.

Drivers must slow down in school zones when the school zone lights are flashing, because children may be present. School zones help protect children walking to and from schools. This lower speed limit reduces the risk and severity of a vehicle hitting a child.

  • Tennessee’s «Move Over Law,» which passed in 2006, requires motorists to move over into the adjacent lane of traffic, when safe to do so, or alternatively to slow down for emergency vehicles. In 2011, the law was expanded to include utility service equipment to the list of vehicles for which motorists are required to either slow down or move over.
  • Tennessee was the 30th state to establish a “Move Over Law” which creates a safety zone to protect police, firefighters, other emergency personnel, and utility workers.
  • The penalty for violating the «Move Over Law» in Tennessee is a maximum fine of up to $500 and possibly up to 30 days in jail.
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