Changing lanes on the road should be simple– a vehicle moves from one clearly marked lane into the next. It can be more complicated than that, though, and if a lane change is not performed legally, the driver can be cited for “unsafe lane change” or even cause an accident.
Learn how to avoid an unsafe lane change and how a car accident lawyer can help if someone else was responsible for your accident.
Georgia’s Lane Change Laws
Georgia’s laws on changing lanes are outlined in Official Code of Georgia (OCGA) § 40-6-123. The statute states that
- Drivers must provide a continuous “signal of intention” before changing lanes in enough time to alert other drivers.
- Failure to use a turn signal when changing lanes can result in a traffic violation citation.
- A driver who fails to use their turn signal when merging and causes an accident can be liable for damages.
Drivers should make sure they are completely in their lane on roadways with at least two clearly marked lanes going in the same direction. A lane change should only happen when it can be done with reasonable safety. You should also signal your intentions even if you don’t see other vehicles around.
Other Examples of Changing Lanes Improperly
Changing lanes legally is about more than just using a turn signal. Drivers can also violate lane change statutes if they:
- Fail to check their blind spots or mirrors for other vehicles before merging
- Change lanes and brake unexpectedly in front of other vehicles
- Driving between two lanes for too long
- Merge into a lane that doesn’t have enough room
- Change lanes without allowing enough distance between other vehicles
- Changing lanes in “Do Not Pass” areas with unseen hazards like hills or curves
- Speed while changing lanes
Drivers should also turn off their signal after completing the merge or lane change. If inclement weather limits drivers’ ability to see on the road, drivers should take this into account. For example, heavy rain or fog can make it difficult to see other vehicles and their turn signals. In these situations, drivers changing lanes would need to provide extra time and distance before merging.
The Danger of Not Changing Lanes Correctly
Changing lanes unsafely can easily present multiple hazards on Georgia roadways. Moving into another lane quickly or without signaling can catch other drivers off guard. They rarely have enough time to move out of the way, especially in busy traffic. Improper lane changes can easily cause collisions, which is why police are quick to pull over drivers violating lane change laws.
Poor use of changing lanes can lead to accidents like:
- Phantom vehicle accidents
- Rear-end collisions
Multiple unsuspecting vehicles can become involved from a simple improper lane change.
Were You in an Accident Because of an Improper Lane Change?
If you were in a car accident because another driver failed to change lanes properly, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. If the other driver failed to follow Georgia laws on changing lanes, they are likely at fault.
Contact John Foy & Associates today to learn your options. For over 20 years, we have been helping injured car accident victims recover the money they need to cover their damages. Call us today for a FREE consultation and case evaluation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.