Remaining aware of your surroundings, signaling your intent, checking for vehicles, and moving cautiously are all crucial factors in making safe lane changes while driving. Unfortunately, negligent and reckless drivers often change lanes without proper care, placing themselves and everyone around them at risk of a car accident.
If you were injured in an accident due to another motorist who made an unsafe lane change, you shouldn’t be responsible for the costs of your losses. The Huntsville unsafe lane change accident attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can help you pursue the compensation you need to recover both physically and financially.
Contact us today to learn more in a free initial consultation.
What Is an Unsafe Lane Change?
Unsafe lane changes occur when motorists enter traffic lanes without proper caution, putting them at risk of colliding with other vehicles traveling in those lanes. Dangerous lane changes commonly occur when drivers fail to signal their turns, don’t check their mirrors and blind spots, drift into neighboring lanes, drive between two lanes, or fail to pay adequate attention to their surroundings.
Causes of Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
Many unsafe lane change accidents involve drivers acting recklessly, not paying attention, or not in a safe condition to drive. Common causes include:
- Aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, and lane weaving
- Distracted driving behaviors, such as texting or talking on the phone, consuming food or drink, interacting with passengers, or grooming behind the wheel
- Driving while fatigued, which can make it easier to drift into neighboring lanes or misjudge the trajectory of other vehicles
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or legal medications
- Road rage behaviors such as intentionally blocking or cutting off other cars, ramming other cars, or attempting to run other vehicles off-road
- Lack of consideration for other motorists, failure to check blind spots, or failure to yield the right-of-way
Types of Unsafe Lane Change Crashes
According to research published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), unsafe lane changes frequently result in the following types of crashes:
- Two vehicles in parallel lanes collide when one driver purposefully changes lanes and causes a sideswipe accident.
- Two vehicles in parallel lanes collide when one driver intentionally turns across the path of another car at an intersection.
- Two vehicles in parallel lanes collide when one driver accidentally drifts into the next lane and sideswipes the other vehicle.
- Two vehicles in parallel lanes collide when one driver attempts to pass another car as it turns at an intersection, potentially causing a T-bone wreck.
- Two vehicles in parallel lanes collide when one driver veers into a neighboring lane to pass another vehicle, causing a rear-end, sideswipe, or head-on crash.
- A driver trying to pull out of a parking area collides with another vehicle traveling along the main road in a sideswipe accident.
- A driver trying to merge onto a highway from an entrance ramp collides with another vehicle already on the road in a sideswipe accident.
Unsafe Lane Change Laws and Violations
To discourage unsafe lane changes and reduce the incidence of dangerous lane change accidents, Alabama traffic laws outline the following rules and restrictions:
- Alabama Code 32-5A-82 – Drivers passing others traveling in the same direction must pass on the left at a safe distance and should not move back over to the right until safely ahead of the other vehicle. Drivers of overtaken vehicles should not increase their speed to prevent others from passing.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-83 – Drivers may only pass another vehicle on the right when the other vehicle is about to turn left or when there are road obstructions that prohibit passing on the left.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-84 – Drivers may only pass others by moving into oncoming traffic lanes if they can ensure oncoming lanes are free of traffic and return to authorized lanes before coming within 200 feet of approaching vehicles.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-85 – Drivers shall not pass others by moving into oncoming traffic lanes when approaching blind curves or hills, approaching intersections or railroad crossings, or approaching bridges or tunnels with obstructed views.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-86 – Drivers shall not pass others while traveling through clearly marked no-passing zones.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-88 – Drivers shall remain entirely within a single lane whenever possible and shall not leave their lane without first ensuring that they can do so safely.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-114 – Drivers preparing to cross or enter roadways from private roads or parking areas shall yield the right-of-way to approaching vehicles on the roadway they are entering or crossing.
- Alabama Code 32-5A-133 – Drivers may not turn or move right or left on roadways unless they can ensure they can make the maneuver safely and must signal within 100 feet of turning or moving.
Drivers who violate these laws may receive traffic tickets for unsafe lane changes or cause devastating collisions with other motorists.
Injuries Caused by Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
Unsafe lane changes frequently occur suddenly, without enough warning for other drivers to react in time to avoid devastating collisions. Unsafe lane change accidents commonly result in the following painful injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries and nerve damage
- Partial or total paralysis
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Soft tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Heat, friction, or chemical burns
- Facial scarring and disfigurement
- Jaw injuries and dental trauma
- Internal bleeding or organ injuries, such as aortic dissection
- Surgical or traumatic amputation
- Knee, elbow, and other joint injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Establishing Negligence in an Unsafe Lane Change Car Accident Case
If you were injured in an Alabama improper lane change accident, you would need to establish that another party was negligent to receive compensation from an insurance claim or lawsuit. A knowledgeable attorney can help you gather the following types of evidence to support your case:
- Police accident reports showing that the other driver received a citation for violating Alabama lane change laws
- Photos or video footage of the accident, which may show the other driver changing lanes abruptly, without signaling, or without looking
- Accident reconstruction diagrams, which could show the relative speed, velocity, and impact points of the vehicles when the crash occurred
- Testimony from eyewitnesses who saw how the crash happened
- Cell phone records which indicate the other driver was texting or talking on the phone when the accident occurred
How the Car Accident Lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., Can Help
If you need an unsafe lane change accident lawyer in Huntsville, look no further than the dedicated team at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. With offices in Huntsville, Decatur, and Florence, we accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we charge no up-front fees to begin work on your case and don’t collect a dime unless and until we recover compensation for you.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your Alabama unsafe lane change accident with a qualified attorney in a free initial case review.