Merging onto the highway


Considering the province of Ontario has a number of high-speed highways and freeways, it would be wise to learn how to merge safely onto them. Not only will this help you during the Ontario G road test, but also to help you gain the skill and confidence to tackle these roadways once you get the opportunity to drive alone. Here are a few tips to make merging safe and easy!

As you travel toward the curve of the acceleration lane before merging into traffic, match the speed of the yellow warning sign of the curve. This will help you to see well around the curve while maintaining control of your vehicle. As you leave the curve, begin accelerating as soon as possible with the goal of matching the speed limit or flow of traffic already on the freeway/highway. This will make blending into traffic much easier and safer.

Once you begin to accelerate along the acceleration lane, be sure to signal just after you begin to accelerate. Having the signal on this early will help to alert the traffic on the freeway of your intentions of merging onto the highway/freeway. Quite often drivers on the freeway will either adjust their speed to help you change lanes smoothly, or even change lanes themselves to help you merge safely.

Begin checking your mirrors and check your blind spot the moment the acceleration lane runs along next to the highway lanes. This will give you more information about whether you should ease off the accelerator slightly to allow the driver next to you to pass, or if you should accelerate slightly harder to move further ahead of them. Just remember that your goal is to match the flow of traffic during your lane change onto the highway/freeway.

Keep making quick glances in both mirrors until you find a gap to use. Checking it early will give you more time to adjust to ensure you can merge safely. Prior to reaching the end of the acceleration lane, or once you’ve matched the speed of the traffic on the highway/freeway, check your inside and outside mirrors and the blind spot one more time to ensure the space you’ve found is still available.

Once you’ve confirmed this space is still available, look well ahead into the centre of your intended lane and gently change lanes. And yes, merging onto the freeway/highway is just like a lane change, but while accelerating. In most cases, these techniques will allow you to merge safely, but there is a small chance that another driver may do something to make it difficult for you to merge safely.

Prior to merging onto the highway/freeway, if a vehicle has entered that space you’ve planned to use, no need to panic. Directly ahead of you in most cases is a paved shoulder that is wide enough to allow you to temporarily travel on. That would be better than stopping at the end of the acceleration lane and attempting to merge into traffic from a stopped position.

These simple techniques will allow you to merge safely on the freeway/highway with less stress than you may think. Choose longer acceleration lanes to merge from if at all possible. That will give you a little more time to merge.