Some urban areas of Southern California are virtual spaghetti bowls of multi-lane highways. Drivers on these highways must be constantly vigilant of other drivers cutting across lanes to exit, weaving in and out to make time or crossing multiple lanes at one time. It is no wonder that multi-lane highways are often the backdrops of serious accidents. Research shows that the right lane of highways has the greatest number of accidents due to merging. The left, or fast lane as it is referred to, has the least amount of accidents. However the serious accidents involving injuries and death more often begin in the left lane.
Merging onto a highway is the most dangerous part of multi-lane highway driving, but illegal lane changes cause the disastrous accidents. Lets say for example you are traveling in the center lane of a three lane highway when suddenly a car cuts in front of you from the right lane, who only seconds ago you saw in your left mirror. The car seems to miss hitting your car by only inches. The driver continues moving left with no signal, until he is back in the left lane, tailgating another car. If you are wise you will just comment to yourself about the other driver, take a deep breath and move on. Or like many others you will lean on your horn to let the other driver know what you think of his sociopathic driving. Illegal lane changing is not only a leading cause of serious accidents, it is a leading cause of road rage, second only to tailgating.
Fortunately you can reduce the chances of being involved in a California lane change accident by following ten simple rules:
1. Let your intentions be known – Always signal when changing lanes or merging. Do not weave in and out of traffic to get where you’re going faster. Relax and give yourself time.
2. Turn your head – Almost every car has a zone where a passing vehicle is out of the view of the side view mirror but not within the driver’s peripheral vision. Before changing lanes turn for split second to be sure there is no vehicle beside you.
3. Two hands at the right distance – One hand on the wheel is a habit that most drivers develop, however it does not give you the fast reaction of the nine and three position or the ten and two. Adjust your seat using the racecar method. When your arm is extended completely your wrist should rest on the top of the wheel while your back is against the seat.
4. Give way to merging traffic – If possible, move over one lane when cars are merging into your lane. If it is not possible to move over safely, back off and let the cars merge in front rather than speeding up to get ahead. The merging driver may not see you.
5. Claim one lane at a time – Signal and move over one lane. Then signal and move over a second time. Never signal once and cross two lanes in one move.
6. Never assume being seen – Always assume that a car you are passing does not see you. Expect the unexpected.
7. Avoid passing on the right – In California it is not illegal to pass on the right, but in many cases it is unwise. You are entering a driver’s blind spot at just the moment he may change lanes. In continuous lanes of traffic or slowed traffic to your left passing on the right may be unavoidable. Never ride the shoulder of the road to reach an exit.
8. Avoid distracted or impaired drivers – A car that drifts out of its lane probably has a distracted or impaired driver behind the wheel. Stay clear. Do not drive up and look to see what the other driver is doing. That makes you the distracted driver.
9. Never drive on the right of a truck or bus – The rule, if you can’t see the driver in the mirror, the driver can’t see you, is still true.
10. Get the big picture – Always look ahead as far a possible to get the overall situation. This will provide early warning of slowed vehicles, erratic drivers and more. Leave yourself an out. Always try to have a place to go if the unexpected happens.
By learning and practicing these ten simple measures you will greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a California lane change accident. Of course some lane change accidents are unavoidable, but simple precautions will reduce the chances of the accident being even partially your fault.
California is considered a fault or tort state regarding insurance and auto accidents. A person must prove the other driver at fault before that persons insurance will pay damages. This is unlike no-fault states, like New Jersey or Florida, where the drivers own insurance pays for medical bills and loss of income regardless of fault.
California requires that a party must prove fault before there is legal liability. This means the injured party in an auto accident must show that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. California follows the pure comparative negligence law. Any recovery will be reduced by the partial negligence of the injured party. If an award, for example, is $20,000 and the fault was 20% by the injured party, the injured party would only be entitled to 80% of the award, or $16,000.
California auto accident cases can be very complicated especially when there are claims and counter claims by multiple parties. That is why it is imperative to be represented by a car accident attorney with vast knowledge and experience pertaining to California auto accident personal injury cases. The attorneys at Vititoe Law Group have that experience and are willing to discuss your case with you no cost for an initial consultation. If you or someone you care about was injured in a California lane change accident or any other motor vehicle accident, the attorneys at Vititoe Law Group would like to talk to you. Call 818-851-1886 today.