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Merging is a challenge for many drivers. But it doesn't have to be so stressful! Use these 4 easy steps for how to merge into heavy traffic.

How to Merge Into Heavy Traffic in 4 Easy Steps

When driving in heavy traffic, merging is a common challenge for many drivers. Traffic congestion can be a serious nightmare. On some highways, three lanes merge into two, or two lanes merge into one. Merging fear is common when you have driving anxiety. Without the proper skills, you could easily find yourself in a car crash. But merging doesn’t have to be nerve-racking at all. It’s easy with the right skills. Here are four easy steps for how to merge into heavy traffic.

Start Your Merge Into Heavy Traffic with These Steps

1). Merge at highway speed
The onramp isn’t just there for decoration, you know. It serves an important purpose. Use it to get up to highway speed, which averages about 65 MPH in the US. This is one of the biggest mistakes caused by fear of merging on the highway: People are going too slow by the time the onramp ends. You need to be traveling at least 50 MPH as you enter the highway.

2). Use the merge lane effectively
The merge lane is basically a continuation of the onramp. The ramp lets you get up to speed, and the merge lane gives you a chance to assess traffic before you actually merge. This is the reason merge lanes tend to be fairly long: to give you time to pick a spot to move your car into. Use the whole length of the merge lane to also give other drivers the chance to see you. Also remember to use your turn signal to indicate your intention to move out of the merge lane. Be as visible as possible, because it makes merging as safe as possible.

Always Remember to Merge Safely

3). Know the law
Traffic laws state that the traffic already on the highway has the right-of-way. That means it’s your job to merge with them. It is not their job to accommodate you, or to let you in. That said, most motorists are courteous enough to move over or adjust their speed to let you enter the stream of traffic. Merging is a balancing act between you and the other drivers to use the same highway. Try to be kind to other people merging as well. It makes the whole experience much less unpleasant.

4). Pick the right spot
Find the right spot to fit your car into when merging. Your merging spot should be about two car lengths in size if possible (this is totally not possible sometimes). Try to leave a comfortable cushion of space around your car at all times. Use your rearview and side mirrors to watch the space around your vehicle, and check your blind spot by quickly looking behind you before leaving the merging lane.

I used to hate merging. I found it incredibly stressful. Now I do it with barely a second thought. It’s because I practiced my merging skills until they became second nature. Using the above four steps for how to merge into heavy traffic the same way, every time, will go a long way towards helping you to perfect your merging technique too.


Greg Weber