Lane change crashes may be prevented if drivers recognize the hazards that increase the likelihood of a lane change crash and take defensive measures to avoid a loss.
Read the information below and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a lane change crash.
RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS
Increased traffic on the road makes changing lanes more challenging. Construction zones where lanes are closed and force traffic to merge increase the risk of a lane-change crash. Additionally, obstacles in the road such as parked vehicles blocking your lane, may require an unexpected lane change.
Tractor-trailers have large blind spots in front, behind, and to the sides of the vehicle. Damaged, missing, or inoperable equipment such as mirrors, turn signals, etc., reduce the driver’s visibility. Additionally, mirrors become misaligned due to vibration while driving and need adjustment.
Drivers making frequent lane changes increase the risk of a crash. Speeding and improper following distance reduce a driver’s perception and reaction times. This can lead to abrupt lane changes to avoid a rear-end crash. Poor planning and failing to use a turn signal also increase the risk of a crash.
KNOW THE DEFENSE
CONDUCT A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION
Conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection. Clean mirrors, windows, lights, and reflectors at each stop or as needed. Take the time to properly align the mirrors before each trip.
Program the route into your GPS before leaving. Be mindful of construction, lane closures, etc.
MAKE SAFE AND LEGAL LANE CHANGES
- Avoid distractions while driving, such as talking/texting on phone, eating, drinking, etc.
- Stay in one lane as much as possible.
- Maintain proper following distance and be mindful of traffic slowing ahead.
- Make frequent, quick glances to mirrors and windows to monitor the blind spots around the truck.
- Be aware of state “Move Over” laws and whether a lane change is required to accommodate emergency vehicles on the side of roads.
- Use the turn signal well in advance to warn other drivers of your intent to change lanes.
- Use the Lean and Look method to ensure another vehicle is not in the tractor’s right-front blind spot.
- Do not make abrupt lane changes. Move gradually into the adjacent lane.
- Move into the exit or turn lane well in advance. If you miss your exit or turn, continue on and go to the next exit or turn and circle back.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.