Lane-Change Car Accidents

Lane-Change Accidents Constitute a Serious Danger

Whether a lane change is intentional or not, there always is the potential for an accident. Lane change accidents can happen in a number of different ways. Changing lanes without signaling, ensuring that there is enough room, that no one is trying to change lanes into the same space, drifting into a different lane because of inattention, drowsiness or some other cause, merging into traffic from a highway on-ramp, or trying to merge ahead of traffic right up until the end of the merge lane -- all are potentially the trigger for a collision on the roadways.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study in 1999 that identified seven main situations in which lane changes lead to accidents. These are listed from the most common to the least common:

  • Two vehicles driving parallel in the same direction, and one changes lanes intentionally but collides with the second vehicle;
  • Two vehicles driving parallel in the same direction and one turns across the path of the other to make a turn at an intersection;
  • Two vehicles driving parallel in the same direction, with both going straight, turning in the same direction at an intersection or driving through a curve in the roadway when one vehicle moves into the other vehicle’s lane and the two collide. Referred to as drifting, this particular scenario results in accidents because of a lane shift for what the NHTSA refers to as “no apparent reason.”

The other four scenarios in the top seven involve passing a turning vehicle, changing lanes to pass, pulling out of a roadside parking space and merging onto a highway from an onramp. Six of these scenarios can be attributed to inattention or simple failure to determine whether the lane change is safe. The No. 3 cause of lane-change accidents, though, is worth looking at – the lane change that occurs “for no apparent reason.”

All of the other lane changes can be countered by vigilance – paying attention to the vehicles around you and what they appear to be about to do. While there might be some white-knuckle moments, being vigilant often can help you avoid the other lane-change accident scenarios identified by the NHTSA. Nothing can protect you from a lane change that occurs randomly, for “no apparent reason.”

New Technology is Improving Lane-Change Safety

Recent developments in automotive technology that are becoming commonplace in new vehicles are helping to counter the risk of lane changes that happen for “no apparent reason.” Lane departure warning is rapidly making its way into new model cars. This technology can warn a driver that they are drifting out of their lane, and even correct the course of the vehicle to remain in the lane. This technology already is preventing lane-change crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Data Loss Institute has conducted studies that show autobrake technology reduces the number of rear-end crashed by half – a common lane-change accident result. Further, lane departure warning signals cut rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on collisions by 11 percent, and reduces the rate of injuries in such crashes by 21 percent. Equipping all vehicles with such technology would have eliminated 55,000 traffic injuries in 2015, the IIHS says.

Unfortunately, most cars on the road are not equipped with this relatively recent technology, and lane-change accidents remain common. Often, those accidents are a result of the negligence of the driver changing lanes. Florida law requires drivers to be sure that a lane change will be safe before executing the change. When that doesn’t happen, and an accident ensues that results in you being injured, you may be entitled to compensation.

If You Have Been Injured in a Lane-Change Accident in the Miami area, Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz

If you have been involved in a lane-change accident in the Miami area, you should consult an attorney to determine what your rights are. It is possible that the other driver was negligent and you can recover for your damages.

The attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz can assist you in protecting your rights when you are involved in such an accident. You can reach us at (877) 475-2905 or through our website.

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