How To Drive On The Highway Without Fear

The highway can be a scary place for everyone, but this is especially true with new drivers. For new drivers, driving in the first place can be scary enough, but the prospect of driving at high rates of speed on a busy highway might paralyze you with fear. Is it possible to drive on the highway without fear? Indeed it is, and we're here to tell you how.

The key to driving on the highway without fear is to build confidence. To become more confident with highway driving, do the following:

  1. Ensure that your car is mechanically sound
  2. Trust your training
  3. Practice positive self talk
  4. Drive in the middle lane(s)
  5. Maintain situational awareness
  6. Practice

A woman with her hands on the steering wheel and driving on the highway, How To Drive On The Highway Without Fear

If you still need some reassurance (and we don't blame you if you do), just keep reading. By the end of this guide, you will be prepared to tackle highway driving with confidence. 

Is It Hard To Drive On The Highway?

At first, driving on the highway can be challenging. But like most things that seem daunting, the fear of it is far worse than it actually is. When we fear or dread something, we tend to convince ourselves that it is scarier than it really will be. Once you face your fear, you'll realize that highway driving isn't as scary as you thought. And with a few practical tips, you can face your fear with confidence. 

Why Am I Scared Of Driving On The Highway?

Being scared of driving on the highway is generally rooted in the fear of getting in an accident, which is completely understandable. After all, driving on the highway is much different than driving in a city; sometimes highway speeds more than double the speeds permitted in cities, which means highway accidents can be more serious. However, with the right approach, you can approach highway driving with confidence. 

How Can I Not Be Afraid To Drive On The Highway?

To help you feel better about driving on the highway, we brought you some no-nonsense tips that will replace your fear with confidence. 

1. Ensure That Your Car Is Mechanically Sound

One way to boost your highway confidence is by ensuring that your car is mechanically sound. Worrying about the mechanical state of your vehicle is the last thing you want when you're navigating a busy highway. By regularly checking your tire pressure, changing your oil, and ensuring that your car is up to date with other simple routine maintenance, you can rest assured that the machine you're controlling won't fail you.

A man checking the tire pressure of his car

2. Trust Your Training

In order to get behind the wheel, you had to get licensed. As you well know, the licensing process consists of hours of training behind the wheel and some kind of examination that demonstrates your competency to operate a vehicle. 

Trust that the training you received has prepared you to drive on the highway. When you think of it this way, you will become more confident behind the wheel on the highway. 

3. Practice Positive Self Talk

You can do this, and you need to remind yourself of that. If you think positively about your driving ability, you will naturally become more confident. After all, with most things in life, success starts with your mindset. 

4. Drive In The Middle Lane(s)

The left-most lane is typically referred to as the "fast lane." As such, it's generally reserved for drivers that want to drive faster than everyone else on the highway. Contrarily, the right-most lane in which people enter and exit the highway. This means that, on busy highways, there might be cars attempting to enter the highway via the right lane every mile or so. 

Thus, the best lane to be in is the middle lane(s). You won't have to worry about the super fast drivers on the left or the cars constantly entering and exiting the highway on the right. In the middle lane(s) you can simply cruise and focus on the road. 

5. Maintain Situational Awareness

Situational awareness (SA) is the name of the game when it comes to driving, but this is especially true on the highway. When a driver has SA, they fully understand their position in relation to other drivers on the road. SA helps drivers mitigate risk on the road. 

The best way to maintain SA is to frequently check your mirrors. As a general rule, you should spend the same amount of time looking at your mirrors than at the road. Having a complete picture of what's going on around you (in front, to the sides, and behind) is a key part of building confidence on the highway. 

6. Practice

Practice makes perfect, and driving on the highway is no exception. The first few times you do so, you'll be nervous, and that's understandable. One of the best ways to gain confidence is to practice, practice, practice. Each time you drive on the highway, you'll gain confidence in your ability, and it will become less scary each time.

What Is The Best Time To Drive On The Highway?

To answer this question, we'll discuss the worst times to drive on the highway—rush hour. "Rush hour" is the name given to the period of time that most people are commuting to and from work during the workweek. Rush hour generally falls from 6 AM to 9 AM and 3 PM to 6 PM. During rush hour, the roads are extremely hectic. Thus, the best time to drive on the highway is anywhere from 9 AM to 2 PM. During this time, the highways should be relatively empty. 

Traffic on the highway at dusk

How To Get Used To Driving On The Highway

As mentioned, the best way to get used to driving on the highway is to practice. When you're first learning, it's a good idea to do so when the highway is less busy (not during rush hour) in order to gradually build your confidence. 

Driving On The Highway For The First Time Alone

If you have yet to drive on the highway for the first time alone, you might be particularly fearful. But don't worry, because we're going to give you some helpful tips that will calm your nerves. In no time, you'll be able to drive on the highway for the first time alone confidently and successfully.  

1. Know Your Vehicle Inside And Out 

Before your first solo highway trip, you should become familiar with the vehicle you'll be driving. Familiarize yourself with things like the instrument cluster, mirrors, and blind spots.

2. Avoid Distractions

You already have enough on your mind so you don't need cell phones or loud music distracting you. Looking at your phone while driving is never a good idea, but this is especially true when it comes to your first solo trip on the highway. All of your attention should be on the road. 

3. Know Your Route Ahead Of Time

This tip goes hand-in-hand with avoiding distractions. Prior to your departure, be familiar with the route you'll be taking. This will be one less thing to worry about as you navigate the highway alone for the first time. It's easier to navigate the highway when you know exactly what your route entails. 

4. Avoid Rush Hour

As mentioned, the highways are busiest during rush hour. For your first solo highway trip, it's a good idea to avoid driving during these two hectic times of the day. Fewer cars on the road will make for a less stressful experience, which will help you gain confidence with highway driving.

5. Relax

Take a deep breath and relax. Be calm, cool, and collected.

If you follow these five simple tips, you'll be able to confidently drive on the highway by yourself for the first time!

In Closing

By now you should be confident in your ability to drive on the highway. Implement the tips we discussed here, and you'll have nothing to worry about. You got this! 

Before you go, be sure to check out these other guides that might be of interest:

Why Is Driving So Hard? [And 7 Ways To Make It Easier]

What Is Negligent Driving?

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