How to Merge Onto the Highway

Merging onto the highway is probably the most dangerous part of interstate driving. Trying to merge at speeds too high or too low and other bad behaviors can cause an accident. With a few steps and practice you can become a master at merging!


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    Proceed to the highway and prepare to enter the acceleration lane. This is a very long lane where you rapidly accelerate to get very close to or match interstate speed.
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    Be cautious when first entering the lane. Look out for other drivers also entering the highway. If the lane is crowded you won't be able to go too fast until you hit the interstate.
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    Try to accelerate rapidly enough so that you are virtually very close to interstate speed before you merge with other traffic. Usually open highways have a speed limit of 75 mph (121 km/h) so before merging try to be around at least 65 or 70 mph (105 or 113 km/h). On the other hand, highways near winding mountains are only 55–65 mph (89–105 km/h) so your minimal merge speed should be 45 or 55 mph (72 or 89 km/h) respectively.
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    Look for the merge area, which is after the solid white lane has ended. Prepare to do the merge there. You must yield to traffic already on the interstate. Look in your mirrors, over your shoulder and always signal.


  • If there is a ramp meter, stop when it is activated. Only one car can merge onto the highway per green. There also should be signs reminding you that there is a ramp meter, which means that you should be prepared to stop.
  • Think of merging on the interstate kind of like taking a plane off. Although very separate tasks the car like an airplane has to make considerable changes to engine, braking, etc in order to safely depart.
  • Never assume drivers will be safe. This is one of the worst driving habits you could start. Drive defensively and try to think what you will be doing in the next few minutes.


  • Watch out when merging: There are more accidents on highways when merging, not changing lanes or leaving!
  • Never merge slowly. For example driving in an acceleration lane at 30 mph (48 km/h) when you need to be close to 70 mph (110 km/h) by the end. This is a major catastrophe waiting to happen. Always plan for the worst case scenario but hope/pray for the best.

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Categories: Driving Basics