Who is at Fault When Changing Lanes in an Accident?

You might not know who was at fault if you participated in an accident involving a lane change. It can be difficult to recall whether or not you took every necessary precaution when changing lanes and merging. Here, we will discover more while discussing the causes of these auto accidents and what you may do to stay safe on the road. 

Roadway Change Accident Rates

On Arizona’s roadways, lane change incidents account for nearly 17 percent of all accidents. These accidents, referred to as sideswipe or merge accidents, result in tens of thousands of injuries annually. 

When Changing Lanes, who has the Right-of-Way?

How can you determine whether or not you have the right-of-way when changing lanes? When traveling in Arizona, there are two primary circumstances you ought to be aware of:

  • Changing lanes – Straight-ahead drivers in a lane have the right-of-way. The driver changing lanes is responsible for ensuring safety. Typically, a driver who collides with another vehicle is culpable for the collision. However, if the other motorist does a thing to avert the lane change, such as accelerate or decelerate, they may be liable for the collision.
  • When traffic lanes merge, or a driver merges into a lane from another road, the driver traveling directly ahead in the lane has the right of way. Again, the converging driver is responsible for checking first before merging. Nonetheless, when a driver observes another vehicle endeavoring to merge, he or she should either move over or reduce speed. They may also be held responsible for the accident if they neglect to do so.

What to Do Prior to Lane Changes?

Some lane change collisions occur because drivers do not know how to change lanes safely. In many cases, these accidents can be avoided if drivers are vigilant and exercise sufficient caution.

To be able to avoid a collision when changing lanes, it is essential to:

  • Utilize your turn signal to indicate your intention to switch lanes.
  • Examine your rearview mirrors and blind regions before driving.
  • Maintain your pace while switching lanes.
  • Change lanes only one at a time.
  • Avoid changing lanes where distinct lines exist
  • Do not change lanes at intersections.

To determine whether it is safe to change lanes, you must estimate the vehicles’ pace ahead and behind you. In inclement weather like rain or ice, you should increase the distance between automobiles before changing lanes. If you are unsure whether merging is secure, you should postpone until a safer opportunity presents itself.