Improper Lane Change

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of collisions due to improper lane changes and merges hovers around a quarter million per year – consistently. Many drivers fail to check their blind area, are rushing, and failed to signal their move with sufficient warning to the drivers around them.

All drivers are required to signal their intention to leave or enter a travel lane with their turn signals or hand signals. Many drivers do not use signals consistently or with sufficient forewarning to other motorists – preferring to activate the signal as they transition laterally from lane to lane. This can lead to an increased risk of collision.

Weaving through traffic, passing on a two-lane road without sufficient clearance and improper or aggressive merging at ramps are also forms of “improper lane changes”.

Basic tips to remember:

•Use your Signals – Whenever you enter traffic, signal and be sure you have enough room to enter safely. You have to share space with the traffic which is already on the road.
•Space To Pass – Avoid passing other vehicles, including motorcycles and bicycles, on two-lane roads. It is dangerous. Every time you pass, you increase your chances of having an accident. Ask yourself if the risk is worth the few minutes you will gain. Remember, whenever you pass another vehicle on a two-lane road you must enter a lane that belongs to oncoming cars.

•Oncoming Vehicles – It is hard to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles – especially at the distances needed for you to safely pass before they arrive at a collision point. Oncoming traffic won’t seem to be coming as fast as they really are: a vehicle that is far enough away generally appears to be standing still. In fact, if you can really see it moving closer to you, it is probably too close for you to start to pass.

•Hills Or Curves – Any time your view is blocked by a hill or a curve, you should assume that there is an oncoming car just out of sight. This means you should only pass if a hill or curve is at least one-third of a mile or more away (considering the speed of oncoming traffic, your speed needed to pass and re-enter your own lane, etc.) You MUST NOT drive on the left side of a roadway when coming to a curve or the top of a hill where you can’t see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe to pass.

•Space To Return – Always signal before passing. Don’t pull out to pass unless you know you have enough space to return. Before you return to the driving lane, be sure you aren’t dangerously close to the car you have just passed. Don’t count on having enough time to pass several cars at once. Don’t count on other drivers making room for you.

•When Someone Passes You – When a driver behind you is overtaking your vehicle, reduce your speed slightly, making it easier for the other vehicle to pass you. Not only is this courteous, but it enables a maneuver with slightly less risk to everyone involved.

Traffic moves in unexpected ways. Making time to check around your vehicle, signal and change lanes smoothly takes experience and good judgment. On the other hand, it is easy to slip into bad habits of merging without looking or signaling. Make it a priority to invest time and energy to be courteous when changing lanes or passing on two lane roads.

Credit to Chem Plan