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Recommended steps for changing lanes with traffic, and some common mistakes

In many people’s mind changing lanes in the middle of busy traffic is scary. It’s not wrong when done incorrectly. However when done properly it should be safe and easy. Here are the recommended steps to ensure the safe changing lanes:

1) Signal early and longer than 3~5 seconds;

2) Maintain about the same speed of the traffic

3)  Check mirrors (looking back is not recommended) to see what the response is from the other relevant vehicle(s),e.g. is it  speeding up, or slowing down to give way? remember the slowing down is quite minor usually about 10 kmh slower, so new drivers need practice to get used to it

4) Based on their response (speed up/slow down), you do the opposite. That is, slow down a bit if they speed up, speed up a bit if they slow down, IN ORDER TO create a safe gap for you to move in the next lane

5) Check if you have a safe gap before moving in, mirror and blindspot check are both required. NO GAP NO MOVE! The safe gap must have 2 things: enough and constant. Small gaps or closing up gaps are NO safe gaps.

When you can do these steps in a calm, logical and technical way the changing lanes is very safe.

There are some common mistakes we can see from learners:

a) one blink (or no signal) and move in

b) Signal and brake the car to an unusually slow speed

c) while doing observation checks the steering wheel drifts, that is why we do not recommend the new learners to look back and set up the safe gap, using mirrors to set up should ease this problem. To look back and set up is more for experienced drivers.

d)  Do autistic type decisions without checking what the other drivers are doing

e) Move in without checking if there is a gap that is both big and constant, just move in.  This is a highly dangerous method surely causing a fail item in P test, and could lead to serious accident for the future.

f) Moving into a closing up gap,  the gap might look big initially but because the other vehicle is faster than your car so it’s very unsafe to move in before you speed yourself up. This is usually because you did not maintain your speed well enough, or the other vehicle was determined NOT to let you in, or the signal light too short, the other vehicle did not have time to respond.

Hopefully by discussing the good and the bad it helps more learners understand what is a good changing lane, and if any issue fix them asap.

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