Rules to Drive By

General Rules


Keep your attention focused 5-10 seconds ahead of you. Practically all dangers are ahead of you during normal highway driving. If you are attentive you can permit as few as two seconds between you and the car in front of you. However, you need to attend to traffic further ahead to avoid pile-ups. Stationary obstacles can appear in the middle of the highway, and at highway speeds it can take more than 5 seconds to come to a complete stop. When possible, you want to stop gradually so that the less attentive behind you donít run into you.

Prioritized Highway Rules:

  1. The distance to the car in front of you should not be greater than the distance to the car behind you.
  2. If somebody is tailgating and/or flashing you, get out of their way and let them pass. If they donít do so quickly, check your lights and signals.
  3. Avoid driving directly behind or beside trucks.
  4. If there is merging traffic, stay out of the merge lane when possible.


Do not lose track of any merging cars ahead of you. Bad drivers may slow or stop if they fail to merge. Perform the following steps in order:

  1. As you approach the merge, match the speed of the incumbent traffic.
  2. Signal.
  3. Look for a slot to enter. Once you have found it, return your attention to the traffic ahead.
  4. At the last moment glance into your blind spot to make sure your slot is still there.

Lane Changing

When changing lanes, you want to vary as few things as possible at a time to avoid disrupting your situational awareness, as well as that of surrounding drivers. At no time during a lane change should you lose awareness of what is happening ahead of you in your own lane!

  1. Look for a slot in the adjacent lane using your rear-view mirror and side mirrors.
  2. Once you find a slot, briefly check your blind spot to make sure it is clear.
  3. Signal.
  4. Only now may you make any lane-position deviation. Glide slowly and evenly into your new slot.


Avoiding Trouble

  1. If you are stopped by police, be as polite and respectful as you can. There is a fair chance you arenít being stopped for a citation. If you are, I doubt that anybody has ever argued their way out of a ticket except in court. If you committed a violation, the best you can hope for is that the officer will be sufficiently impressed with your character to just issue a warning.
  2. When coming to a stop behind another vehicle, make sure you leave enough room in front of you to pull out in an emergency. (The best way to assure this is to stop far enough back that you can still see where the tires of the vehicle in front of you touch the road.)
  3. If you are ever threatened by somebody outside, remember that your car is both a lethal weapon and your best means of evasion. Be prepared to use it in those capacities.
  4. Beware of insurance fraudsters. You will almost surely be at fault if you rear-end another car, or if you get in an accident where you didnít have the right of way. If somebody signals for you to go ahead when they have the right of way, beware.
  5. If you want to wave to another driver in gratitude, do not do so until you have completed all maneuvering or while there is any potential for confusing your intentions.
  6. If you get in an accident, your first priority is to ensure your own safety. Move clear of traffic if possible, and evacuate your vehicle if there is any fire. Also, beware of the other parties in the accident. If you were hit in suspicious circumstances, the offenders may be preparing to rob you once you are stopped and out of your car. Your second priority is to get officials on the scene. Your third priority, if you believe you are not at fault, is to get as much information as possible. Try to stop any potential witnesses. Write down as much information as you can. Get all the information you can from other parties to the accidentónames, vehicles and tags, addresses, phones, insurance companies, etc.