Lane Change And Lane Departure Accidents
When we think of car accidents, we usually think of the higher impact accidents—things like intersection accidents, or being rear ended, or head on collisions. But just as common are lane change or lane departure accidents. And while these accidents can seem “lower impact,” they are nonetheless very dangerous.
Why So Dangerous?
It may at first seem like lane change accidents are less dangerous, because both cars are going straight, and generally at the same speed—there is no sudden impact the way that there is when a car runs a red light.
But part of what makes lane change accidents so dangerous is that both cars are usually going at a high rate of speed-they aren’t slowing down because they are entering an intersection, and unlike with intersection accidents or rear end accidents, drivers usually don’t have the opportunity to slow down or apply their brakes in order to avoid the impact.
The After Effects
When lane change accidents happen at a high speed, one or both of the cars can veer off the road; the higher speed makes the vehicle very hard to control. Cars in lane departure accidents that do veer off the road can hit inanimate objects like railings or trees.
Worse, a car that goes veering off course because of a lane departure, can end up going into the opposite lanes of traffic—now, a lane departure accident has the potential to become a much more deadly front end collision accident.
If the impact of the lane change accident doesn’t cause a car to veer off course, and into oncoming traffic or into an object, overcorrections may—drivers may instinctively correct the car to go the opposite direction to avoid impact, or upon feeling impact with a car next to them. This can make what would have been a minor accident, into a much more serious one.
How Do They Happen?
Lane change accidents can have a lot of causes. Sometimes, lane change accidents are caused by being drowsy or distracted—a driver may just not bother to look to see if an adjacent lane of traffic is clear.
Other times, a driver may, because of impairment, veer into an adjacent lane—the driver isn’t actually trying to change lanes, he or she just isn’t staying in their lane.
Sometimes, an adjacent lane looks clear. When someone tries to change lanes, a car, going much above the speed limit, suddenly occupies that once-empty lane.
Other factors come into play as well. This may include bad weather, which can hide lane lines, or cause cars to slide into other lines. Another cause is worn or confusing lane lines, causing confusion about where the lanes actually are.
In many cases, people in lane change accidents blame the other driver. Cases often hinge on who had the right of way, which lane was clear, and who went into who’s lane. Although difficult, your attorney can help you show that the other driver was at fault for your lane change accident.