As you drive on the highway, you might encounter various circumstances due to which you have to pull over your car. Here’s everything you need to know about how you can pull over your car properly and the things you need to keep in mind while doing so.
Why It Pays to Be Careful
It is extremely important to be mindful of your surroundings when deciding to pull over, because being hasty in such situations can easily lead to accidents. This is especially hard for newer drivers or drivers who don’t have a lot of experience with highways.
Highways are where cars travel the fastest, and simply driving on them is a daunting task for beginners. Pulling over requires a lot of skill and an understanding of how it affects vehicles around you. When should you do it, and how do you time it right?
Timing it Right: When Should You Pull Over?
Regardless of how long you want to take a halt, the first thing to do when thinking of pulling over is to find – or wait for – a situation that’s safe and appropriate for everyone around you. For example, there are places on the highway where the side of the road is just a few meters away from the white line. If you can feel the wind from cars passing nearby, you are too close to the flow of traffic.
That’s definitely not the best place to pull over, and in such a case, it is better to wait and find a better place. When picking a spot, also pick one that’s down a straight road, where other drivers can see you from a distance. Maintaining visibility is key when pulling over.
Passing Accidents or Emergency Vehicles
In case you see an accident on the highway and want to pull over to help or call 911, it is always better to establish distance between you and the affected vehicle(s). If you already see an emergency vehicle on the site, it might also be best to not pull over.
Ontario also has a law regarding passing emergency vehicles that states the following: “When approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, slow down and pass with caution. If a road has two or more lanes, you must leave a lane of space between you and the emergency vehicle, if you can do so safely.”
Things to Keep in Mind when Pulling Over
Aside from the factors mentioned above, you also need to make sure that you are staying alert and making a smooth transition from your normal speed. Drivers around you should know from your signals and movement that you are about to pull over; be 100% predictable.
Make sure to use your indicators, make sure your changes are gradual and not sudden, keep an eye on your surroundings using the rear-view mirror, and if there are more people in your car, get their help to make sure you have your blind spots covered. We’ve elaborated more on blind spots and specific rules about expressways in our guide to driving on highways in Ontario.
Regardless of why you’re pulling over – whether it’s an urgent phone call or an accident that has already happened on the expressway – making a rational and careful decision is crucial on an expressway.