It’s another long weekend, and for quite a few, this will be another opportunity to hit the road and visit friends and family. For longer jaunts out of town, this typically means travelling on highways. As always, safety should be paramount, and route planning goes a long way towards a smooth and safe drive.

It is understandably daunting when you’re faced with a split in the highway and you don’t know for sure which way to go. Overshooting the intended exit is probably something we’ve all done before, and we’ve surely seen what some have done in a bid to save time and get back on the right path – they’ve gone against the flow of traffic, to the unpleasant surprise of everyone else along that stretch.

It really does not need to be this way. Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, so a reliable navigation app like Google Maps and Waze are just taps and a download away. Make use of one of those apps, add a phone holder (or use a smartphone integration function like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) and you can find your way safely. For motorcyclists, phone-based navigation is a more involved process than it is for car drivers but nevertheless possible – check out Mohan’s review of one such unit here.

Even then, it is still possible to miss your exit. Maybe you misinterpreted the map or the spoken direction, or you were engrossed in a conversation with a passenger and sailed past. Whatever it is, it is imperative that you carry on forwards anyway – under no circumstances should you attempt to reverse towards it, even on the hard shoulder or the emergency lane.

You probably already know this, but missing an exit isn’t the end of the world. There will be another exit or intersection further ahead that will still take you to your eventual destination, and the extra time and fuel spent on the detour is a very, very small price to pay compared to a potential collision and the risk of injury or death due to driving against traffic – especially dangerous on highways. And of course, it goes without saying that reversing against the flow of traffic is also against the law.

Even if near misses don’t result in a direct collision between the offending vehicle and the innocent road user, this could pose serious issues for the latter who will need to take evasive action. Also spare a thought for the motorcyclists, who have at least two fewer contact patches on the road, and have to be far more physically involved when emergency manoeuvres need to be executed.