Changing lanes is a necessary part of driving. All drivers have a responsibility to learn how to change lanes safely and correctly. Unfortunately, many drivers break the rules and drive carelessly, such as by failing to check their blind spots, speeding and merging on top of other vehicles when trying to change lanes. If you get involved in an unsafe lane change accident in Arizona, learn who is responsible and how to claim financial compensation for your injuries.
Lane Change Accident Statistics in Arizona
Lane change accidents are one of the most common types of motor vehicle collisions in Arizona. According to the 2020 Arizona Crash Facts Summary released by the Department of Transportation, 648 people were killed and 13,212 were injured in lane departure crashes. There were 6,515 reported accidents involving unsafe lane changes and 5,289 where a driver failed to keep in the proper lane. Together, these accidents accounted for over 6 percent of all Arizona car accidents in 2020.
What Is the Correct Way to Change Lanes?
All drivers have the ability to prevent accidents caused by unsafe lane changes. They should do so by obeying Arizona’s traffic laws and basic roadway rules. Drivers are taught the proper way to change lanes when they receive their driver’s licenses. Unfortunately, many drivers become careless or reckless in how they navigate the roads. The proper way to change lanes, according to the Arizona Driver License Manual, is:
- Check your side mirrors.
- Turn your head and look over your shoulder to make sure that the destination lane is clear.
- Determine the speed and position of traffic on all four sides of your vehicle.
- Match the speed of your vehicle to the traffic in your destination lane.
- Use your turn signal to indicate your plan to change lanes.
- Wait until the destination lane is clear and it is safe to change lanes.
- Switch lanes slowly but efficiently, without stopping on the line between lanes.
- Do not exceed posted speed limits when changing lanes.
- Make sure you have enough room and don’t follow the car in front of you too closely.
Lane change accidents occur when a driver performs this maneuver improperly or unsafely. Common examples include failing to check the destination lane, ignoring blind spots, speeding, weaving between lanes of traffic, failing to use turn signals, driving under the influence and ignoring rights-of-way. Changing lanes in a place where this action is illegal, such as when there are two solid lines between the lanes, can also cause a car accident.
Who Is at Fault for an Unsafe Lane Change Accident in Arizona?
Under Arizona law, the driver or party at fault for causing a lane change accident will be who pays for the crash. This is because Arizona is a fault state. In a no-fault state, both drivers involved in a crash file claims with their own insurance companies, regardless of fault. In Arizona, a claim will go to the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. This makes it necessary to determine and prove fault for your unsafe lane change accident.
Establishing fault for a lane change accident often requires evidence such as a police accident report, video footage from traffic cameras, eyewitness statements and crash reconstruction. You may need a car accident attorney to help you build a compelling case, such as by hiring qualified expert witnesses. Your attorney can help you prove that the other driver was breaking a traffic law or making an unsafe lane change at the time of your accident to hold him or her financially responsible.
When to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Unsafe lane change accidents are common causes of serious injuries and deaths in Arizona each year. If you get involved in a lane change accident, contact an attorney to request a free consultation right away. You may be eligible for compensation. An attorney can carefully review your rights and help you take legal action against the at-fault driver.