Lane Changing

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,”, 2019.
“Lane Change Tips,” BC Driving Blog: Driver Education, 2019.