The dangers of improper lane changes

Improper lane changes are one cause of car accidents. All types of drivers can do them: the sleepy, the distracted, the poorly trained, the intoxicated.

Texas car accidents happen in a variety of ways. For example, rear-end collisions are quite common. Another common cause, but one that many people may not think about or be aware of, is lane changes.

How to safely change lanes

Driver education classes should cover the guidelines for safely changing lanes. In general, drivers should flick on their signal and check their mirrors and blind spot(s) for potential impediments. Only if these checks have come up clear should drivers change lanes.

In reality, many drivers do not follow this procedure. Some may check their mirrors-but not their blind spot. Some may not turn on their signal with adequate time to warn other drivers. Some do nothing at all, and in fact, weave in and out of traffic recklessly. Skipping any of the steps in safely changing lanes can lead to serious car accidents.

Why people do not change lanes safely

Drivers skip proper lane change procedures for reasons such as they are distracted. That is, they are on their cellphone, engrossed in a text, and do not notice their car is drifting over. This happens often with intoxicated and fatigued drivers as well.

Impatience can also lead to improper lane changing. Drivers find themselves late for work, a game or an important meeting, and speed up everything to cut corners. As a result, they may cut off other cars, slam into other cars or rear-end another vehicle. A car might roll over, and drivers' attempts to entertain themselves on their cellphones or to save time has just backfired disastrously.

The good (and bad) news

There is some good news in that many recent cars are being produced with technology such as lane assist. For example, lane keeping support helps keep drivers in their lanes. If a car begins to drift, the system kicks in by accelerating, braking and/or steering as needed.

Similarly, lane departure warning systems can alert drivers when they are drifting in and out of lanes. As a result, it has been a great help to quite a few fatigued and distracted drivers. Blind spot detection systems are another effort to help drivers, letting them know if there is something in their blind spot when they want to execute a lane change.

So what is the downside? Some drivers, knowing they have this technology behind them, let down their guard and actually feel safer eating, reading or drifting off while they drive. And, unfortunately, technology cannot always prevent crashes.

Crashes that begin with improper lane changes in Texas can affect people in all types of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, buses and RVs. If someone has been injured in such an accident, a lawyer can help navigate the process of seeking compensation.