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Dangers of Lane Shifting

Colburn Law

Commercial trucks are a common sight on Washington highways, transporting goods and materials across the country. As these massive vehicles travel long distances, they may encounter traffic congestion or slower-moving vehicles. In these situations, some truck drivers may choose to change lanes to pass other vehicles or to maintain a consistent speed. 

However, lane shifting for commercial trucks can be a dangerous maneuver that puts both the truck driver and other motorists at risk. Smaller vehicles may be caught in the truck’s blind spot, resulting in serious and sometimes fatal collisions.

How Lane Shifting Can Lead to Serious Accidents

car lane shifting

When a large, 80,000-pound commercial truck changes lanes without checking for ongoing vehicles or looking in their blind spots, dangerous car accidents can occur. There are several factors that make lane shifting dangerous, such as:

  • Blind Spots: Even with mirrors or cameras, drivers may have difficulty seeing critical areas around their trucks. A truck’s blind spots are located directly in front of the truck cab, behind the trailer, and on either side of the truck.
  • Stopping Distance: Large trucks require more stopping distance due to their size and weight, which can make it harder for a driver to stop or slow down when shifting lanes. If an unexpected hazard arises, a serious accident can occur.
  • Low Visibility: At night, truck drivers rely on their lights to see ahead of them. However, they can only see what their lights can illuminate. If someone is in the next lane, the driver may not see him or her, leading to a collision.

What Other Factors Contribute to Improper Lane Change Accidents?

When driving such large vehicles, all truck drivers need to exercise additional caution while passing. Maneuvering big trucks comes with its own set of challenges, and several contributing factors can make lane shifting even more dangerous than usual.

These factors may include:

  • Driver fatigue due to driving long hours
  • Distractions inside the vehicle, such as radios or GPS systems
  • Failure to signal before a lane change
  • Driving a truck over the posted speed limit
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to merge properly
  • Driving a truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Misjudging the distance required to pass safely on the driver’s side, front, or rear of the truck

What to Do If You Are Injured in a Lane Shifting Accident

If you’re injured in a commercial truck accident, the experience can be overwhelming and confusing. It’s crucial to understand your rights and take steps to protect yourself.

The first thing to do after the accident is to call 911 and report it to the police. Seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Gather as much evidence as possible, including the driver’s contact information, witness details, and photographs or videos of the scene.

Then, contact an attorney who can represent your case and fight for your right to financial compensation. A Washington truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process and secure a fair settlement on your behalf. After receiving medical care for your injuries, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and plan your next steps.