Lane changes are one of the top causes of car accidents on major roadways in the United States. Every driver has experienced the terror of another vehicle suddenly moving into their lane and forcing them into a narrow escape with horn blaring. Our experienced team of Atlanta car accident attorneys have seen even the most seasoned drivers make this type of error if they fail to see a vehicle in a blind spot and then make an unsafe lane change and cause a near miss— or worse, an accident. Unlike accidents at intersections, lane change accidents happen with both cars at high speeds on multi-lane highways and sometimes end in multiple-car pile-ups.
What happens in these common traffic maneuvers that make them so inherently dangerous, and how can a driver minimize the danger?
A lane change accident occurs when the driver of a car, truck, or bus attempts to move over into another lane to the right or left and collides with a vehicle already occupying the lane. Unsafe or improper lane changes may occur on any roadway with multiple lanes. Unsafe lane changes often happen due to the following:
Any driver attempting a lane change must take all necessary precautions to ensure the lane is clear before they merge. Unsafe lane changes cause sideswipe accidents, over-correction accidents, and sometimes multiple-car pileups, making this one of the most dangerous causes of car accidents.
Georgia traffic laws require motorists to signal when making a lane change. Drivers must signal well in advance of merging in order to give other motorists time to react. Signaling a change does not give the lane-changing driver the right of way. Vehicles already occupying a lane always have the right of way. However, when vehicles on an exit ramp attempt to merge into traffic, motorists must change out of the lane as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Motorists and Georgia may receive traffic citations for unsafe lane changes under the following circumstances:
Drivers should always use good judgment when making a lane change, not only to avoid citations but—more importantly—to avoid devastating car or truck accidents. If you have been in a life changing truck accident, don’t hesistate to call our Atlanta truck collision attorneys today.
Penalties in Georgia for making unsafe or improper lane changes can be as much as $1,000 and 3 points against the driver’s license. Multiple offenses for unsafe lane changes may result in the loss of driving privileges or a requirement to attend traffic school.
Drivers may also face civil penalties in court and bear liability for an accident caused by their unsafe lane change. Drivers with the right of way are almost always blameless in lane change accidents.
A personal injury attorney in Atlanta can represent your car accident claim if you’ve been involved in a lane-change accident.
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