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How to Merge Properly When Driving Onto a Highway or Freeway

Updated on November 6, 2017
What the #@! are you doing? Learn to Drive!
What the #@! are you doing? Learn to Drive! | Source

Merge People Merge!

One mistake that many drivers make is not merging properly. How many times have you been driving on a highway or freeway and have witnessed an improper merge? So many times I see someone entering onto a large busy highway and they stop or slow down. This can cause so many accidents. They think that they are being safe by stopping or slowing down. What about the vehicle behind them that is properly trying to merge by increasing their speed to merge and they come upon a stopped car in the merge lane? They too must slow down so that they do not collide with the car in front of them therefore losing their ability to merge. Talk about frustrating!

Study and learn the driver's handbook

The driver’s handbook, which I hope, everyone has read and studied before obtaining a license to drive states that when entering onto a freeway or highway in most cases there will be two parts which are:

  • 1. The Entrance Ramp
  • 2. The Acceleration Lane

Ontario's Driver's Handbook
Ontario's Driver's Handbook | Source

I do realize that in some incidents you may not be able to get onto a very busy freeway even though you have accelerated and driven properly to merge onto the highway and have to stop due to inconsiderate drivers or traffic backup, but so often lately I see people not following the proper procedure on merging.


When you are on the entrance ramp use your mirrors to check the traffic flow, access onto the freeway, blind spots, and look to see where you plan to merge onto the freeway.

Upon leaving the entrance ramp and entering onto the acceleration lane this is where you accelerate (not stop or slow down). Accelerate to the same speed of that of traffic. Make sure that your signal is on so that drivers on the freeway can be alerted that you plan to enter the freeway.

In a perfect world other freeway drivers should move over to let you onto the freeway. This does not always happen, so plan your merge accordingly.

© 2011 Susan Zutautas


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    • profile image

      Howland L. 

      8 years ago

      Wow!! And I thought I was like the ONLY person who had a prob with the good majority of drivers who don't know how to merge properly onto a hwy! Like seriously....I lose count with the number of times a driver in front of me will just merge straight on the moment the highway bend completes or someone who fails to use the entire straight and WILL merge on at an inadequate speed. I will admit however I do get abit of an adrenaline rush accelerating up to speed on the straight, especially if I have to really give it throttle to get head of the driver who merged too early and at an inadequate hwy speed (as I DON'T WANT to be behind the slowly merged vehicle, while there is incoming hwy traffic from behind!). Almost makes the urgency of the situation somewhat worth it.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Dan, Thanks for commenting. When I'm driving on a highway and I'm in the fast lane I move over to the middle lane if there is another vehicle coming up behind me in the fast lane. I realize that not everyone does this but some people do. It's common courtesy. Sorry that you strongly disagree with my article but if we all followed the rules of the road, driving would be more pleasurable.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      "In a perfect world other freeway drivers should move over to let you onto the freeway." I strongly disagree. There is no other situation on the highway where you expect other drivers to change lane to accommodate you. When it becomes common for people to do that, as it now is in Nova Scotia, people begin to expect it and the standard rules regard merging break down. It is very common now to see vehicles barge onto the highway, forcing other motorists to get out of their way or brake. Similarly, it is now very common to be honked at or worse for expecting motorists on the ramp to follow official merge rules.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Millionaire Tips, Some drivers can be so rude that way by narrowing the gap. Too easy to cause an accident by doing that.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      dahoglund, I took drivers education in high school in California and this is the exact way that we were taught how to merge. Glad that you liked my way of explaining this, and thanks so much for the votes and sharing.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      GoodLady, Thanks for reading and for your comments. It's always nice to see you.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Judi, That must have been quite scary.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      8 years ago from USA

      I hate merge lanes, and try to use the continuous lanes whenever possible. I have to say though that once I pick out a spot that I am going into, I have to depend on the drivers to keep their speed and leave that spot open. Often, I find drivers narrow the gap because they don't want to let anyone through, and I have to find another spot.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I don't believe I have seen these instruction in drivers manual of any state I tested for. Your hub gives very good instruction on merging on free ways and I'll keep it in mind when I get to the cities. voted and sharing.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      This would not go down well among the Italians whose very ambition is to get there first and run red lights and people on the sidewalk.

      Driving in North America is a dream and if someone were to get eir thmerging all wrong, around me, I wouldn't notice (kidding! this is a very useful reminder). After years at the wheel it's important not to bend those rules of the road!!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      8 years ago from UK

      This brought back memories of learning to drive - this was the thing that terrified me the most! Actually, I've only ever had a problem once (back here in the UK) when a tractor was coming out on to the carriageway and I couldn't pull over because there was too much traffic in the outside lane. First and only time I've ever had to stand on my brakes.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      JDx, It's amazing how many people don't merge properly. Hope you have a better driving day today. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am so glad for this read. I drive a lot on highways, and nothing bothers me more than people who cannot merge. Merging when you are going far below the speed limit is inconsiderate both to those already on the highway and those behind you. After having this happen to me again today it was good to find that I am not alone in this frustration.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Kelly.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Tammy, More tickets should be handed out to those that driveway under the speed limit. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow this is funny. A lot of people where I live need to read this one! I'm always looking out for bad drivers! Voted up! Take care, Kelley

    • tammyswallow profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      It is great to see a hub on this subject. I think everyone in this country needs to read this and take this advice. I am a notorious speeder and I do it to stay away from bad drivers. People who drive too slow are normally much more dangerous than people who drive too fast- especially when merging. Great hub!!!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 

      10 years ago from Virginia

      I think some people really think you have to come to a complete stop before entering onto the highway...It's equally annoying when people won't move over to the other lane!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It is so frustrating. I think to myself that everyone should know that if they passed their Drivers test.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Important, well-done hub--really good video--and generating great comments.

      Your title made me want to say out loud, "Ain't it the truth?!"

      When we get frustrated with drivers here we need to talk to people from places like Ukraine, Mombassa, and Ecuador... of course, deadly is deadly in any country, isn't it?

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks everyone I appreciate all of your comments.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      10 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Susan, I am sure there are a lot of drivers out there that just do not know the highway code!

      It seems to be a world wide problem!

      Many thanks for sharing some good advice.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      10 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A great hub, great advice. I'm sure some just don't know the rules of the road.

      Voted up

    • Seriouslyfunny profile image


      10 years ago

      It's ridiculous! What I have to roll out the red carpet and let these people on the highway?? It's bad enough when people don't go fast enough, but some people don't even look!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Susan - I have driven about 600 miles in the last three days - I was complaining about this very thing today!! I would be the one that clicked BEAUTIFUL! lol

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      10 years ago from England

      Hi, we have a motorway near us, and when the council made out the lanes, they are so confusing people merge all over the place! they have no idea where they are going, or how to get in! its an accident waiting to happen, great advice! cheers nell

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 

      10 years ago from Sweden

      This must be a very common problem and I see the same behavior here too! Maybe humans wasn't made to travel in that speed, it becomes too much to think about at the same time! Or can the cause be that we have become so used to travel in high speed and/or ignore the others? I don't know because i don't ever make this mistakes:)))

      A very good hub! You have described in great way how it should be done!


    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks everyone for all of your comments. I see that so many of us feel the same about the problem with drivers and merging.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi Susan.

      You hit the nail on the head.

      Not only do we have problems when joining a motorway but also when going down from a three lane to two lanes or similar because of road works. They merge to soon creating a tail back or go right to the front as they should where some drivers refuse to let them in.

      Some drivers should take a test every five years.

      Hope some of these drivers read and think about what you have written, but then i wouldn't think any HP drivers could be like that???

    • Skuttner profile image


      10 years ago from Nebraska

      Great hub! Driving is not only an unnatural act for humans, it also goes against our nature in the trust department. The invention of the car was one of the worst things that could have happened to humankind. On the other hand, nothing else in the world has demonstrated how much we are willing to trust others without thinking about it. It is crazy to wrap ourselves in huge chunks of steel and hurdle ourselves at ungodly speeds toward other people doing the same thing. CRAZY!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      10 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      What a great Hub. This is a serious subject and I see crazy things all the time. I almost smashed into a car when the driver suddenly came to a complete stop on the acceleration ramp! May lots those folks find this and pay heed (you know who you are, lol)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      10 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Very useful Hub. Traffic scares the heck out of me. I try not to get in congested areas. I live in a small town and i'm glad. Thank you for sharing...

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 

      10 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      J.A.S. I love it. This is funny. SO simple, yet much needed advice for a lot of people.

    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 

      10 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      I thought you were talking about Dallas drivers, until I checked your location. I think you have tapped into something universal.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      10 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This is one of my pet peeves. I think since living in California - where it is rarely seen to have people merging at freeway speeds - that they forget how to do it when traffic isn't backed up. I can definitely see how this would be frustrating for anyone!!!

    • Austinstar profile image


      10 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

      Just imagine how a zipper merges and you've got the idea. I also hate when two lanes become one lane and everyone thinks you should merge as FAR BACK as possible instead of using both lanes and merging at the front point (like a zipper).

      Come on people, it's not rocket science!

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 

      10 years ago from new jersey

      you're preaching to the choir lol

      too bad bad drivers aren't on hub pages


    • profile image

      Joan Whetzel 

      10 years ago

      I've lost count of the number of near misses from thes drivers. Drives me crazy.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      I am not a driver so I can't really relate except as a pedestrian. I see a lot of really stupid drivers on the road and have to wonder where they got their license from!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Its just not the freeway that people have problems its also when making a right hand turn and the lane extends for people to merge and they stop. It drives me nuts. Susan.....thanks for sharing....

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      10 years ago

      I regularly get the problem of being behind someone on the entrance ramp who is going a mere 35 mph and only bothers to accelerate to maybe 45 mph on the acceleration lane.... when merging with 60+ mph traffic! This affects not only the driver, but all the drivers behind them who then have a much more difficult time merging.

      Thank you for this hub - excellent.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      10 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hahaha!! Awesome! Thank you for writing this. I wish all those people stopped on the merging lane, waiting for the highway traffic to stop so they can change lanes, read this blog of yours.

      That's probably how I look - the guy in the first photo LOL!!


    • Nspeel profile image


      10 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      WillStarr I once seen an ambulance flying toward me on the opposite side of the highway going in the correct direction and no one was pulling over for him instead they were waiting till the ambulance was about to smash them and whipping it into the median I seriously saw at least 12 cars spin out of control due to their own ignorance.

    • WillStarr profile image


      10 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I once followed a driver on the entrance ramp who first accelerated smoothly and correctly, but then, while I was looking in my mirror for a break in traffic, suddenly panicked and slammed on the brakes. Only fast action and the Good Lord saved me that day!

      Excellent Hub.

    • Nspeel profile image


      10 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      HAHAHA I live in Myrtle Beach I just wanted to say amen sister. No one understands how to drive anymore and most people will still give you the finger when they are in the wrong. A friend of mine got rear ended while stopped at a red light and the woman that hit her tried to get out and beat her up. Just stupid drivers anymore.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      10 years ago from south Florida

      It may be, Susan, that many drivers either didn't read any Driver's Handbook or can't understand it if they do. Entrance ramp accidents happen regularly in my neck of the woods, er ... highways.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 

      10 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Good hub, Susan. Here in ND we don't usually have that much traffic, except when people are trying to get to work. Only once have I seen a driver actually stop when merging, and it was so unnecessary! And I knew the guy! We were both heading to work at 4pm. He was an immigrant from the Sudan. I didn't mention his "driving" to him, probably should have.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      10 years ago from Asheville, NC

      This is great advice though I believe so many drivers will keep dangerously shooting out, squeezing in, or suddenly stop not heeding your advice. I often look like that man in your photo. Great Hub!

    • iQwest profile image


      10 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Seriously! It's amazing to me what people do when they're ATTEMPTING to merge onto the highway and, as you've noted, it always seems like their natural inclination is to stop!


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