When Faced With One Oncoming Car

February 22, 2024

When faced with one oncoming car, the safest thing to do is to pull to the right (or left, if driving in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road) and slow down. This will give you plenty of time to react to the other driver's actions and prevent a head-on crash. If the other vehicle starts to drift into your lane, honk your horn or flash your lights to attract attention and warn them. If they don't move over to the right, swerve to avoid them if possible, but always be prepared to drive to the shoulder or ditch in case they correct their mistake at the last moment.

When you want to turn left at a light, wait for approaching traffic to pass first and to make sure that the oncoming vehicle ahead of you isn't planning to make a left turn as well (see "Turns"). If it does, let them go ahead and then proceed with your turn when it's safe to do so.

Remember that every vehicle has blind spots. People in wheelchairs, bicycles, and mopeds can be hidden in those blind spots as well as other vehicles. It's especially important to keep your eyes moving to check for them, and to use your mirrors and headlights to see as much of the roadway as possible at all times. This is called situation awareness and it's the best way to prevent accidents on the road.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
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