Proper Lane Changes And Turns
Left turns are by and large one of the most dangerous things you will do while driving. Indeed, left turns are so dangerous, cause so many accidents, and drain gas mileage that when UPS created a program reducing the number of left turns their drivers made, they saved hundreds of millions the next year. The good news is that you don’t have to be a multi-billion, international company to benefit from their research. You, average driver, can minimize risk and increase gas mileage by taking precautions to minimize the number of left turns you make.
As always, no matter what turn you are making, make sure you check all around you car, use your mirror and check your blind spot over your shoulder. Complete the turn as quickly as possible, never block traffic, and ALWAYS use your signals. Make sure you give those behind you ample warning before making a turn, and be especially aware of pedestrians and cyclists that are often less visible than large cars and trucks.
When making a lane change very many of the same rules apply. First, turn on your signal (blinkers). A good rule of thumb is to do this about 3 seconds before you begin to make your desired lane change. Secondly check the mirror on the side of the car you are turning. If it is all clear perform a big head check over your shoulder to see into your blind spot. If all is clear continuing to signal, change lanes smoothly, and immediately turn off your signal. If at any point during your checking of the lane for clearance there is someone there you may have to adjust your speed to get over.
Planning for both lane changes and turns is an essential element of good, safe driving. Trying to get over too fast or too close to your intended turn is unsafe and may result in adverse traffic conditions or delays. Take these tips and all you learned with you during drivers education with you on the road always. Be safe out there and remember that proper lane changes can help not only you, but everyone else around you.