How do I enter a freeway?

highway freeway on-ramp

1. Look for the freeway entrance sign.
Freeway entrances usually have entrance ramps, and acceleration lanes and merge areas.
The first area of a freeway entrance is the entrance ramp.
When you enter a freeway, look for the freeway guide signs that provide you information about the freeway route number and direction or destination of the highway.

2. Make sure that you are not entering the freeway exit ramp.
If you are on what you believe to be an entrance ramp, but you see a DO NOT ENTER or WRONG WAY sign, pull over immediately.
Turn around when you can, and get off of the ramp.

3. Follow the freeway entrance's speed limit.
Look for the speed limit on the entrance ramp. Some of the entrance ramps have speed limits due to their sharp curves, so be careful and drive slowly and at a safe speed on sharp curves.

4. Follow the freeway entrance's ramp meters signal lights.
On some of the freeway entrances, there are ramp meters (ramp signals) with two states: green and red. The ramp meters are used to control the flow of traffic on a busy highway.

Ramp meters allow one or two cars to pass per green light. Read the signs that provide information about the number of cars that is allowed to pass at each green light. Always arrive at a full stop at the ramp signal until it turns green.

5. Accelerate to a safe speed close to the flow of freeway traffic.
When you are on the entrance ramp, be prepared to accelerate to a safe speed close to the flow of freeway traffic and begin checking for the opening.

The entrance ramp shortly turns into the acceleration lane and merging area. Once you are in the acceleration lane, start speeding up to a safe speed close to the flow of freeway traffic, and begin planning on merging onto the freeway.

6. Merge into the freeway lane.
Shortly after the acceleration lane, you are in the merging area. Turn on your signals, look over your mirrors and shoulders and look for an opening to merge onto the freeway.

Consider the following about entering the freeway:

  • The above steps on entering a freeway seem complicated, but after some practice, these steps should come to you naturally.
  • There are freeway entrances that are short, and there is not an acceleration lane and a very short merging lane.
  • If you plan your entrance correctly based on the speed and position of the vehicles with which you are merging, you should be able to merge smoothly without having any difficulties.
  • Remember that merge into the traffic when it is safe and you have enough room to merge without causing any risks.
  • Always yield the right of way to ongoing traffic.
  • Never expect that the other drivers are going to move over or provide you a space to merge; therefore, you would need to adjust your speed accordingly and only merge when there is an available opening for a safe merge.