As noted by peer-reviewed traffic research, lane-changing collisions are among the most common types of crash on multi-lane freeways. These crashes generally happen when a driver miscalculates how much space/ time they have to make a lane change maneuver or they simply fail to glance in their mirrors to note whether other vehicles are in their blind spots.
Newer and emerging driver assist vehicle technology can help to reduce lane change car accidents by using advanced sensors to alert drivers when another vehicle is in their blind spot. Usually, this is in the form of a small activated light on either side mirror. Some vehicles also allow reduce crash risk by programming a blinking visual warning or audible beeping warning if the driver has signaled intention to change lanes or moves to do so while another vehicle remains in their blind spot. This could go a long way to reducing these crashes long-term, but analysis on just how much probably won’t be out for a few more years.
In the meantime, lane change crashes continue to be a major problem. Just recently, a driver filed a personal injury lawsuit in Orange County Circuit Court, alleging injuries sustained in an Orlando car accident were the result of another motorist failing to operate her vehicle in a careful and prudent manner when changing lanes. The Florida Record reports the complaint alleges defendant driver failed to maintain her lane and carelessly tried to change lanes when it was not safe to do so.
Florida Lane Change Laws
It’s not necessary in a lawsuit alleging negligence (the standard for liability in civil injury cases) to prove a motorist violated Florida traffic laws. However, as Orlando car accident attorneys can explain, evidence a defendant driver failed to follow these rules can be powerful proof of a driver’s failure to exercise their duty of care.
Florida has several laws that outline a driver’s responsibility to maintain their lane and only merge or change lanes when it’s safe to do so. One of those is F.S. 316.085, which references limitations on overtaking, passing, changing lanes and taking course. The law states no motorist should exit direct course on any highway lane unless the driver determines the vehicle isn’t being approached or passed by another in that lane or on either side to which the driver is trying to move. Such a maneuver shouldn’t be made unless it can be completed safely and without interfering with the safe operation of any other vehicle approaching in the same direction. (Basically, you need to check your blind spots and make sure they’re clear before changing lanes.)
Another provision of Florida traffic law that comes up frequently in lane change crash cases is F.S. 316.081, which pertains to driving on the right side of the road. The law says that on all roadways that are wide enough, vehicles must be driven on the right half of the road, except when overtaking/ passing another vehicle in the same direction or when an obstruction in the road makes it impossible (in which case drivers must still yield right-of-way to oncoming vehicles), on roads divided into three marked lanes or one-way streets.
Finally, a careless lane change action could be cited as aggressive driving, outlined in F.S. 316.1923, which requires proof a driver engaged in two or more of the following: Exceeding the posted speed, unsafely or improperly changing lanes, following too closely, failing to yield the right of way, improperly passing or violating traffic control and signal devices.
If you’re injured in an Orlando lane change crash, our injury lawyers can help you determine the insurance benefits to which you are entitled and file a claim or pursue litigation if necessary.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Clermont motorist alleges another driver’s negligence caused crash, Aug. 8, 2018, By Phillip Gonzales, Florida Record
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