Riding on the highway is a completely different experience from riding in the city and on single carriageway roads, and it requires different skills. Particularly for newly qualified riders, the thought of riding on a highway can be an intimidating idea. Below we have answered some common questions concerning highway riding to help prepare you for a safe ride.
How to join a highway
When joining the highway on a slip road, it’s vital that you are travelling at a speed that will allow you to seamlessly join the highway. You want to make sure that you are matching the speed of the vehicles in the left-hand lane so that you smoothly integrate with the other road users. To make it as safe as possible for both you and the other users on the highway, make sure you signal early that you want to join the highway, and carry out a blind spot check before merging onto the lane.
How to stay concentrated on the highway
With plenty of vehicles travelling at fast speeds, you need to be particularly focused when riding on the highway. Sometimes a vehicle may move lane without indicating, so it’s important that you are alert and able to deal with any situations calmly and safely. Always look ahead of you, but be aware of your spatial awareness. If at any time you start to feel tired or feel like you are losing concentration, we highly recommend stopping off at the next service station, taking a little break and rehydrating yourself.
What should the distance of vehicles be on the highway?
Predictably, the quicker you are travelling, the larger the breaking distance. With vehicles travelling up to 70mph on a highway, a considerable distance (at least two seconds) needs to be maintained between you and the vehicle in front to reduce the possibility of a collision. If the vehicle in front was to suddenly brake, there needs to be a large enough gap for you to safely bring your bike to a halt.
However, if the roads are wet, or vision is unclear, a distance greater than two seconds should be kept between you and the vehicle in front.
How to check the health of your bike
Sometimes you can’t help it, but ideally you want to avoid breaking down while on the highway as you could be waiting for hours to get your bike repaired. To minimise the chances of a fault occurring with your bike, you should be regularly checking the condition of your bike and its individual components. This includes checking that your bike’s chain is at the correct tension. With a Chain Monkey, you can correctly set the tension of your bike’s chain. The tool is also small enough to be carried in your pannier so if your chain becomes loose while out and about, it can be quickly amended.
How to be seen on the highway
With drivers frequently moving lanes, it’s crucial that you are visible to all users of the highway. We advise having your front light on at all times so that you can be seen in the mirrors of other vehicles, and also suggest that you wear hi-vis clothing, especially when riding in the dark.
What lane should I be in on the highway?
When driving on the highway, it’s best to stay in the left lane and only move into the other lanes when you need to overtake. Riding in the middle lane with cars and lorries surrounding you can make you feel vulnerable and on edge, but staying in the left lane may slightly reduce the intimidation.
Read more: Riding a motorcycle in the rain