Unsafe lane changes are quickly becoming one of the most common causes of car accidents across Texas, thanks to reckless and distracted drivers. Thankfully, it’s a fixable issue, but drivers need to take measures to follow the law and be safe on the road.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the most common reasons why drivers perform unsafe lane changes and how to keep yourself and your passengers safe on the road.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Unsafe Lane Changes?
An unsafe lane change occurs when the driver fails to signal before switching from one lane to another or where they do so without room to merge safely. Here are the top five most common causes of unsafe lane changes.
Texting While Driving
In 2018, nearly 20% of all motor vehicle crashes in Texas were caused by distracted driving. That’s 95,572 total distracted driving accidents, which led to nearly 400 deaths and more than 2,300 serious injuries.
Eating While Driving
One of the oldest and most common forms of distracted driving, you are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident when you’re eating while driving. Drivers are more likely to make unsafe lane changes when they’re holding an object other than the steering wheel and may ignore potential hazards while eating a meal.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
According to the Texas Department of Education, more than 25,000 Texans are hurt or killed in a drunk driving crash every year. Since alcohol and other drugs can severely reduce your inhibitions and reaction times, intoxicated drivers are more likely to make reckless lane changes and may be unable to respond appropriately.
Not Using Turn Signals
When drivers fail to let other motorists know their intentions, it’s impossible to predict their actions. This can lead to serious crashes. In fact, recent research from the Society of Automotive Engineers states that failing to properly signal before changing lanes causes nearly two million accidents every year.
Rushing to Your Destination
When drivers are speeding to their destination, they’re far more likely to make unsafe lane changes that result in serious accidents. In all their rushing, they fail to properly signal and make impulsive lane changes without checking their mirrors and blind spots.
RELATED CLIENT STORY: Crosley Proves Negligence in Distracted Driving Case
How to Protect Yourself From Unsafe Lane Changes
If you’re like most drivers, you expect other motorists to follow Texas’ rules of the road. This trust seems reasonable, since we all have a duty to drive safely and keep a proper lookout. However, we should be prepared for anything at all times, especially unsafe lane changes and lane drifting.
“An unsafe lane change occurs when the driver fails to signal before switching from one lane to another or where they do so without room to merge safely.”
Here are a few ways you can ensure you and your passengers stay safe on the road.
- Always keep at least two car lengths of distance in front of and behind other vehicles.
- Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Do not drive distracted (no texting or eating while driving).
- Follow all traffic regulations and cede the right of way whenever appropriate.
- Drive defensively and be ready to take evasive maneuvers.
- Assume other drivers cannot see you.
- Remain patient with other drivers and don’t get drawn into a road-rage incident.
- Make sure your vehicle is well maintained and in proper condition to drive at all times.
If you’re ever involved in a car crash, pull over and check to see that everyone is okay. Then, contact the authorities and stay clear of traffic until they arrive at the scene. You should also consult with an injury lawyer who can help you file insurance claims and get the compensation you deserve.
RELATED EBOOK: 5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident
The Penalty for Unsafe Lane Changes in Texas
In Texas, an unsafe lane change ticket can cost an at-fault driver at least $200 and a two-point driving record increase that will remain on their record for up to five years. These points will likely increase their insurance premiums — and four or more unsafe lane change tickets could result in a driver’s license suspension.
They may also be financially liable for the injuries they cause. If you suffered injuries due to an unsafe lane change, your best course of action is to contact a skilled and experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney. A lawsuit can help you hold a reckless or distracted driver accountable and help offset your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
Crosley Law: Fighting for San Antonio Crash Victims
When a negligent driver injures you or someone you love, you should contact Crosley Law to schedule a free consultation. Our lawyers have built a reputation for their attention to detail and dedication to their clients. We will discuss the circumstances surrounding your car crash, the strength of your claim, and your legal options moving forward.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI). (2018). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/safety/sober-safe/intoxication.html
Eating While Driving. (n.d.) American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved from https://www.decidetodrive.org/distracted-driving-dangerous/eating-driving/
Melwert, J. (2012, May 2). New study says failure to use turn signals is a leading cause of car accidents. CBS Philly. Retrieved from https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/05/02/new-study-says-failure-to-use-turn-signals-is-a-leading-cause-of-car-accidents/
Talk, Text, Crash. (2018). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/distracted.html
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.