Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Stay Alert for Unsafe Lane Changes that Can Cause Fatalities

Stay Alert for Unsafe Lane Changes that Can Cause Fatalities

Unsafe lane changes happen all the time. They may be caused by drivers who fail to signal their intention to change lanes, drivers who swerve to avoid obstructions in the roadway, and drivers who are distracted and veer out of their lane of travel. Unsafe lane change accidents can happen on rural roads, highways, or city streets. These types of accidents are common and highlight the importance of staying alert and paying close attention to the actions of motorists in front of and beside a driver as they travel down the road.

Sideswipe Accident Risks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there were 775,000 sideswipe accidents in 2016. These are estimated to cause 104,000 personal injuries and more than 2,500 wrongful deaths each year. Many of these are "opposite direction" sideswipes that can occur when a motorist attempts to pass a vehicle on a two-lane road. These accidents often occur when motorists misjudge the distance between their vehicle and oncoming traffic when attempting to pass. In other instances, opposite direction sideswipes occur when motorists attempt to pass on the solid white line which prohibits passing.

Many opposite direction accidents result in head on collisions. In 2016, there were more than 143,000 head on accidents in the United States. In total, 10.2% of all fatal accidents in the United States in 2016 involved a head on collision. These collisions caused more than 70,000 personal injuries.

Accidents Caused by Unexpected Lane Changes

In 2016, 3,890 drivers and motorcycle operators were involved in fatal accidents involving failure to keep in the proper lane. This was a factor in 7.5% of all fatal accidents. Similarly, 3,659 drivers or motorcycle operators were involved in fatal accidents following failure to yield right of way. This was a factor in 7% of fatal accidents. That same year, 2,696 drivers or motorcycle operators were involved in accidents following failure to obey traffic signs/signals. This was 4% of all fatal accidents.

In 2016, 1,967 motorists overcorrected or oversteered which then caused a fatal accident. In all, 3.8% of fatal accidents involved overcorrecting or oversteering. Similarly, 1,307 individuals were involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents after swerving to avoid wind, slippery surfaces, or obstructions in the roadway. These represented 2.6% of fatal accidents that year.

Wrong Way Drivers

Also in 2016, 1,169 motorists or motorcycle operators were involved in fatality causing accidents after they drove on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way down a one way street. These types of violations were involved in 2.3% of fatal accidents. Finally, 348 individuals were involved in wrongful death crashes after making an improper turn. In all, .7% of accidents involve this type of violation.

Drivers in Kansas are responsible for any unsafe lane change that results in property damage, personal injuries, or wrongful deaths. In addition to traffic citations and fines, prosecutors can pursue more serious criminal charges. They have the discretion to do this when these accidents cause severe personal injuries or wrongful deaths, or when the accident is the result of criminal behaviors including reckless driving, aggressive driving, driving while intoxicated, etc.

Call in the Bull when you are involved in an accident following the unsafe lane change of another motorist. Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on or local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with a motor vehicle accident attorney in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, or Missouri. You can always reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.