Unsafe lane changes are one of the most common causes of auto accidents in Arizona. All drivers have a legal responsibility to change lanes in a manner that is reasonable, safe and in accordance with relevant state laws. Failure to do so, resulting in a car accident, is negligence. Learn Arizona’s laws about lane changes, as well as how the state handles related car accident claims, to protect your rights after this type of collision.
Lane Change Laws in Arizona
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-729 states that any place a road is divided into two or more marked lanes, all drivers must keep as much as practicable entirely within a single lane. A driver cannot move from his or her lane until the driver has ascertained that the movement can be made safely.
If a road is divided into three lanes, it is only acceptable to drive in the center lane when overtaking another vehicle or preparing for a left-hand turn. If a driver does not safely and prudently change lanes according to the rules of the law, that driver will be responsible for a resultant lane-change accident.
Proving Fault in a Lane-Change Accident
Arizona is a fault-based car accident state. This means that after an auto accident, the injured driver will need to determine fault before filing an insurance claim for financial damages. Unfortunately, proving fault can be difficult in a lane-change accident. Lane-change accidents can be tricky if both drivers tried to move into a lane at the same time or if one driver made a mistake such as speeding or slamming on the brakes.
In most lane-change accident cases, however, the fault goes to the driver who was changing lanes. It is this driver’s legal responsibility to perform the maneuver safely. This means to use a reasonable speed, use a turn signal, and check the destination lane to make sure he or she is not going to merge on top of anyone.
If a driver carelessly, negligently or recklessly changes lanes, causing a collision or sideswipe accident, that driver will be liable for the crash. Proof of the driver’s fault may take the form of eyewitness accounts of the accident, a police report, a ticket given to the other driver for breaking a traffic law, accident reconstruction information and testimony from experts.
If both drivers were changing lanes at the same time when they collided, fault can be more difficult to determine. It may be possible for two drivers to share fault for a lane-change accident. In Arizona, a victim can still recover even if he or she is 99% at fault. The victim’s percentage of fault, however, will reduce his or her recovery award accordingly. Speak to a car accident lawyer in Glendale to discuss liability in your improper lane change accident.
Common Causes of Lane-Change Accidents
Determining fault and obtaining compensation for a lane-change accident in Arizona requires identifying the cause of the collision. The cause will point to why and how the accident occurred, as well as which driver had the ability to prevent the collision. Common causes of lane-change accidents include:
- Breaking roadway rules
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to make sure the destination lane was clear
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots
- Failing to use a turn signal
- Changing multiple lanes at a time or weaving through multiple lanes of traffic
- Cutting someone off in a lane-change maneuver
- Driving between two lanes for an extended period of time (lane splitting)
- Changing a lane across solid lines rather than dashed lines
- Changing a lane within an intersection
As an injured victim, you may need a personal injury attorney in Peoria to help you investigate your lane-change accident. An attorney will have the personnel and resources to thoroughly investigate your crash and determine fault. Then, your attorney can help you gather evidence and go up against another party in pursuit of fair compensation.