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What Does Unsafe Lane Change Mean?

Traffic lanes are vital for maintaining the flow of transportation and preventing accidents. If one driver fails to change lanes safely, they can cause a severe accident. Here’s what you need to know about what it means to perform an unsafe lane change.

What “Unsafe Lane Change” Means

In general, a motorist does an unsafe lane change when they move from their current lane into another lane without signaling or otherwise showing that they are going to change lanes.

Unsafe lane changes are some of the most common types of moving violations, and they endanger all nearby drivers on the road. Not only will the driver fail to signal their intent to change lanes, but they often also fail to look out for other motorists around them. An unsuspecting driver can fall victim to an accident if they are unaware that the vehicle beside them is moving into their lane.

Most of us have witnessed other drivers merge into the lane beside them without signaling in any way. This behavior is negligent and dangerous.

Why Unsafe Lane Changes Happen

A driver might change lanes unsafely because of:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Road rage
  • Speeding
  • Lack of consideration for other motorists

A driver who does not signal before changing lanes chooses to act in a way that could harm others even if they don’t see it that way. This lack of care is known as negligence, and it is the critical factor in a personal injury case. If another driver changed lanes incorrectly and it caused your accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

We can match you with the best attorney for your accident. Your lawyer can look at the details of your case, determine your best options, and help you build a strong case. To learn more and get a FREE, no-risk consultation, call our car accident lawyers at (214) 305-8277 or reach out online.

Types of Unsafe Lane Change Crashes

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), lane change accidents mostly involve one of these seven scenarios:

  1. Two vehicles traveling in parallel lanes where one intentionally changes lanes and crashes into the other
  2. Two vehicles traveling in parallel lanes where one turns across the other’s lane at an intersection
  3. Two vehicles traveling in parallel lanes where one drifts into the other’s path
  4. Two vehicles traveling in parallel lanes where one is turning at an intersection and the other is passing
  5. Two vehicles traveling in parallel lanes where one moves into the other vehicle’s lane to pass them or a third vehicle
  6. A parked vehicle pulls out of their parked area and sideswipes (or is sideswiped by) a vehicle in the lane where the first vehicle is trying to merge
  7. One car merges into another’s lane from a highway entrance and sideswipes the other vehicle

The above situations make up about 88% of all two-car lane change accidents. About 10% of these accidents involve large trucks that were changing lanes while a passenger car, van, pickup, or sport utility vehicle was traveling straight. Only around 5% of lane-change crashes involve the opposite scenario.

No matter how a lane change accident happens, the driver who performed an incorrect lane change might be liable for your damages. You will need to be able to prove how the other driver’s negligence led to your accident. To get help seeking the recovery you deserve, talk to an experienced car accident lawyer today.

Additional Causes of Incorrect Lane Changes

Not all lane change accidents happen because of negligent drivers. Some crashes occur because of environmental- or road-related factors like:

  • Bad roads
  • Potholes
  • Road debris
  • Heavy rain, snow, or fog
  • Oil spills
  • Animals on the road

In any of the above scenarios, a driver might be forced to change lanes quickly to avoid a hazard. In rare situations, a driver might appear reckless when they are rushing to the hospital or experiencing a medical emergency.

No matter the reason for an unsafe lane change, drivers have a responsibility to operate their cars carefully and diligently. Most crashes are avoidable if a driver is staying alert, following lane change laws, and allowing enough space for other motorists on the road.

Unsafe Lane Change Laws and Violations

Performing an unsafe lane change is a moving violation. The legal and financial penalties vary slightly depending on the state where you live. Most fines for hazardous lane changes start at $100, and some are much higher. In Texas, for example, you can face the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $200
  • Two points on your driving record
  • Potentially higher insurance premiums
  • Traffic school, in some situations
  • Risk of license suspension for four or more violations within a year
  • Offenses and violations on your driving record for up to five years

If the driver who did an unsafe lane change causes an accident, they will face further penalties and be legally liable for the damages. If you were the victim of this type of accident, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation.

Consequences of Unsafe Lane Changes

When one driver changes lanes incorrectly, the aftermath can be terrible. If the other driver sees the unsafe change in time, they might be able to swerve out of the way. However, swerving out of the current lane can cause collisions with other vehicles or cause the swerving driver to run off the road.

Unsafe lane changes force other drivers into emergencies that they’re not prepared to handle. Even if the driver changing lanes does not see many other cars around them, they might fail to check their blindspot and collide with another motorist.

Lane change accidents can cause severe injuries like:

If another driver caused your accident with an unsafe lane change, you probably have high medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and emotional suffering. However, you should not have to pay these expenses if you did not cause your accident.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today

Our car accident lawyers know what it takes to build a strong case and win. Contact us today, and we’ll go over the details during a FREE, no-risk consultation. Call (214) 305-8277 or reach out through one of our online forms to get started for FREE today.

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