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How to drive safely on the expressway

The importance of safe driving on the expressway cannot be exaggerated because its high speed can easily lead to catastrophic accidents. Even seasoned drivers must abide by the basic rules of safe driving because danger lurks everywhere on the expressway.

Preparations to make before driving on the expressway

Plan ahead with enough traveling time
  • If you plan to use the expressway for a long-distance trip, as with the majority of drivers, you are recommended to plan ahead a driving route, when and where to rest between driving.
  • Find out the weather and traffic conditions of your destination and en route places from radio or TV and reflect them in your plan.
Check your vehicle in advance
  • Thoroughly check the status of fuel, cooling water, engine oil and tires so as to prevent a vehicle breakdown, which can cause accidents or unplanned stopping.
  • As for freight vehicles, check the status of cargo to prevent it from falling. Check the condition of straps and lids on a general basis between driving.
  • Prepare a spare tire, maintenance tools, flash light, and first-aid kit.

Check your vehicle in advance

Expressway safe driving tips

Look ahead

The majority of expressway accidents occur when drivers fail to keep looking ahead. Drivers should look at not only the back but also the front of the vehicle in front.

Enter slow, accelerate fast

Before you enter an expressway, signal your intention with the turn signal, gradually increase your speed in the acceleration lane, and pay attention to other vehicles. Enter when it is safe. Upon entering, accelerate fast in order to avoid slowing down other vehicles.

Enter slow, accelerate fast

Drive in designated lanes

After you pass a slowly moving vehicle using a passing lane, always return to your original lane. Return only when there is enough inter-vehicle space between you and the vehicle behind you.

  • Expressway lanes for different types of vehicles
    Expressway lanes for different types of vehicles
    Lanes
    (each direction)
    Lane Permitted vehicles
    Four lanes 1 Vehicles from lane 2 use this lane for passing
    2 Passenger cars, small and medium passenger buses, freight vehicles
    with under-1.5 ton cargo
    3 Large passenger buses and freight vehicles with over-1.5 ton cargo
    4 Special vehicles and construction equipment
    Three lanes 1 Vehicles from lane 2 use this lane for passing
    2 Passenger cars, passenger buses, freight vehicles with under-1.5 ton cargo
    3 Freight vehicles with over-1.5 ton cargo, special vehicles, construction
    equipment
    Two lanes 1 Lane for passing
    2 All vehicles

Expressway lanes for different types of vehicles

Do not speed, slow down at the entrance and exit

Expressway accidents caused by speeding are likely to be large-scale ones that deal severe damage to the involved. Keep in mind that speeding is the biggest threat to driving safety. Make sure that you slow down at the entrance and exit of an expressway. Many accidents occur because drivers entering a rest stop fail to slow down or drivers exiting an expressway intersection hesitate.

  • Statutory speed limit on the expressway
    Statutory speed limit on the expressway
    Types Maximum speed Minimum speed
    One-lane
    expressway
    (each direction)
    80km/h 40km/h
    Two-lane
    expressway
    and wider
    (each direction)
    100km/h 50km/h
    80km/h
    (reight vehicles with over-1.5 ton cargo, special vehicles, hazardous
    material carriers, and construction equipment)
    Jungbu routes
    (Route 35, 37) and
    Route 15
    110km/h 60km/h
    90km/h
    (freight vehicles with over-1.5 ton cargo, special vehicles, hazardous
    material carriers, and construction equipment)
If your tire loses air while driving, do not brake immediately

It is extremely dangerous to brake immediately when your tire suddenly loses air on the expressway. When a tire suddenly loses air, the steering wheel jerks to one side. Firmly grip the steering wheel and release the gas pedal to gradually lose speed. Do this for about 100m and slowly stop on the side of the road.

Maintain safe distance

Maintaining safe distance is a prerequisite for accident prevention. Safe distance varies depending on weather, road conditions, etc.

Beware of crosswind when driving fast

If you are driving at 100km/h on the expressway, a crosswind blowing at 20m/sec would make your vehicle lean to the side by 1 to 1.5 meter. It can even make some vehicles slide or rattle the back of vehicles. In this case, it is safe to slow down or stop.

When tired, rest in a safe place

It is natural to get tired after driving in a cramped space for a long time. Rest after every two hours to check your vehicle and drive safely.

What to do when your vehicle breaks down

  • Pull over at the edge on the right side of the road or exit the expressway.
  • If it is impossible to take emergency measures, report to a patrolling officer or use your cellular phone or emergency telephone to report.
  • Turn on the hazard lights to signal that your vehicle is stopping because of a breakdown or other reasons.
  • Set up a vehicle breakdown sign on the road behind the vehicle. If it is during day, set it up at least 100m away from the vehicle. As for the night, the distance should be doubled and you should additionally place a red flashing light, electric lamp or other hazard lights next to the sign, that can be identified from 500m away in all directions.

What to do when your vehicle breaks down

When you exit an expressway

  • Pay attention in advance to signs that show the direction of your destination and the exit, and change lanes at least 1km ahead of your planned exit.
  • When approaching the exit, reduce your speed checking the speedometer, instead of relying on your senses, and lightly press the brake pedal several times to gradually slow down.
  • Once you enter a general road, carefully adjust your speed.

Emergency tow service’ system (☏ 1588-2505)
If you are waiting for a rescue vehicle or the free tow service of an insurer after your vehicle broke down or encountered an accident on the expressway, you can use this free service provided by the Korea Expressway Corporation. The corporation dispatches a rescue vehicle to tow your automobile to a nearby safe zone (resting stop, garage).