Many traffic accidents happen when cars merge lanes. For most drivers, merging onto a highway or a freeway is one of the more challenging moves they make. Merging properly often requires quick judgments and fast maneuvers. Merging accidents often occur because one driver was too tentative or another driver was too aggressive. Communication between drivers going in the same direction can be very difficult.
Why merging accidents happen
Some of the many reasons merging accidents take place are:
- Errors in judgment as to the distance and speed of the merging vehicles
- Traffic lanes that don’t leave enough room to merge smoothly
- Failure to understand which lane has the right of way
- Merging across multiple lanes of traffic
- Merging into another lane from a parked or stationary position instead of a moving position
- Cutting off other drivers
- Merging at too slow a rate of speed
- Not signaling that the driver is going to move into a different lane
- Going onto a road from a private lane or driveway
- Entering the roadway from the shoulder of the road
Merging accidents can also happen when a car in the slow first lane and a car in a middle third lane both decide to move into the middle second lane at the same time.
When merging accidents happen, often one car collides with the side of another car. If the cars are proceeding through a curve or going too fast, they may spin out of control. Cars that rotate out of control can cause multi-car crashes.
Common merging injuries
When merging accidents occur, the drivers and passengers may be killed. The crash victims may also suffer:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Full or partial paralysis
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Soft tissue and muscle injury damage
- Nerve damage
- Heart attacks
- Cuts and bruises
- Catastrophic injuries
- Permanent injuries
- Chronic pain
Experienced Sebastian and Vero Beach lawyers work with investigators the police, and other professionals when necessary to help determine exactly how a merging accident happened. We examine the car accident site. Our team examines the damage to the vehicles which can be an indicator of fault. Rear-end collisions usually indicate the driver in the rear was at fault. In sideswipe crashes, it can be harder to judge fault.
We also review who had the right of way. Generally, a car that is trying to enter a highway does not have the right of way. That driver must respect the right of the driver already on the highway to proceed forward. There are different thoughts on lane-merging. Zipper mergers, according to the New York Times, for example, are generally preferred. Here, cars alternate which lane of traffic merges.
The speed limits, nature of the curves, and other factors can also indicate fault. If you’re merging into a lane and the driver already on the highway exceeds the speed limit, then the speeding driver may be at fault.
Ideally, there are witnesses to the accident who stop to speak with the police and you.
Safety tips to avoid merging accidents
Some precautions to use when merging are:
- Don’t tailgate. Cars need plenty of space to move. If you’re too close to a merging car, you might hit it in the rear. Cars already on the highway can use the space to help the other car merge into their lane.
- Use your car signals. Merging is easier when other cars are sure of your intentions
- Be courteous. A merging accident costs a lot of time and money. They can cause death and serious It’s better to let a car merge that feeling that your pride will be hurt if you’re not the first one in the lane.
- Try to merge slowly. Accidents are more likely to happen at higher speeds because there’s less time to react.