On freeways and roadways in large cities, there are often multiple lanes in both directions. While these lanes allow traffic to move faster, they can also lead to difficulties for some drivers. One common issue is changing lanes.
Changing lanes can be more complicated than it looks. While cars are equipped with mirrors, these mirrors do not allow drivers to fully see around them. Blind spots often lurk in the rear of the vehicle and on either side.
This is why it is important to physically look to the left and right sides of your vehicle while attempting to change lanes. Many accidents occur when drivers simply rely on their side and rearview mirrors, and if you fail to pay attention while changing lanes, you could get ticketed as well as be on the hook for any damages and injuries caused by the crash.
What Texas Law Says
Under Texas Transportation Code 545.060, a driver on a road with two or more lanes in the same direction may not move from one lane to another unless it is safe to do so. This means that the driver must exercise caution and make the lane change in a manner that will not cause a collision. If the driver is careless and causes an accident while maneuvering into the adjacent lane, then he or she can be cited for an unsafe lane change.
An unsafe lane change is a moving violation that does not result in a misdemeanor or other crime. However, it comes with several possible penalties. A person may be required to pay a fine of up to $200. The violation can put two points on your driving record. In addition, a person could see their insurance premiums increase significantly.
Determining Right of Way
In any accident case, the insurance company or court will need to assign fault. This will determine who will pay for the damages. Fault is determined primarily by which vehicle had the right of way at the time of the crash. Typically, the driver who merges into the lane is at fault, but it is not uncommon for the drivers of both vehicles to share some portion of the fault.
The driver who is merging has a responsibility to make sure they can do so safely. Investigators may also look to see if the driver was using their turn signal at the time of the accident. While failure to do so will not automatically lead to liability, it can sometimes be a determining factor in an accident case.
Take Legal Action if a Car Changing Lanes Caused an Accident
In accidents caused by changing lanes, it is important to determine liability. The driver who is more at fault will end up paying for the medical bills, property damage and other damages caused by the crash.
If you have been involved in a changing lanes accident, seek legal help. Contact the Sherman, Texas law firm of David K. Wilson to schedule a free consultation at (903) 870-9050.