Mistakes made when changing lanes are among the most common causes of auto accidents. Whether you are on a two-lane country road, a congested four-lane highway or the interstate, using proper lane changing techniques can help avoid potential collisions and injuries.
Here are some things to keep in mind when changing lanes:
- On a four-lane road, the right lane is the primary driving lane. The left lane is intended to be used for passing vehicles moving at a slower speed. Do not drive in the left lane for extended periods of time. Stay to the right.
- When changing lanes, wait till there is a clear gap in the lane you want to enter.
- Maintain the space around your vehicle and your speed when changing lanes—so that other vehicles are not forced to slow down or speed up to avoid a collision.
- When passing a car use these eight simple steps:
- Turn on your left turn signal
- Check your rear view and side view mirrors
- Check your blind spot
- Move into the left lane
- Turn off your turn signal
- Turn on your right turn signal
- Check your review, side view mirrors and blind spot
- While maintaining your speed, steer into the right lane
- When looking in your rear-view mirror and contemplating a lane change, you need to be able to see the entire front of the vehicle behind you—if you cannot—you are too close
- Using your turn signal avoids traffic tickets, but more importantly you are informing the vehicles around you as to your intentions, avoiding potential collisions
- Surrender the left lane to approaching emergency vehicles like ambulances. They have the right of way.
- Remember it’s illegal to lane change over a solid white line.
- While it is not illegal to lane change in intersections in all states, it’s a good idea to avoid doing so.
- It is unsafe to continually weave in and out of traffic changing lanes. It’s also a good way to get a traffic ticket.
“8 Crucial Steps to Avoid Common Errors when Changing Lanes,” Driving Tests, June 17, 2018.
“Changing Lanes,” DriversEd.com, 2019.
“Lane Change Tips,” BC Driving Blog: Driver Education, 2019.