Advised Lane Changes
Unsafe lane changes lead to accidents every day. If you have not made them yourself, you have likely seen another motorist on another Ontario roadway do it. Even if the unsafe lane change does not directly cause an accident, drivers can end up facing tickets and accompanying penalties for making an unsafe lane change.
In any situation, changing lanes without taking the proper precautions can put all others on the road at risk of an accident and injuries. If you have been involved in a car accident because of another driver’s ill-advised lane change, you need the help of an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyer who can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Ontario’s Unsafe Lane Change Law
The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario’s section 154(1a) makes unsafe lane changes illegal. This regulation states that motor vehicle operators must remain within a single lane until a driver determines that a lane change can be safely made. Similar to other areas of traffic law, this rule is open for interpretation.
Drivers might feel that they have made sure to reasonably check their lane for changing. Other times, a driver might not believe that their lane change directly caused an accident.
If a motorist in Ontario does end up receiving an unsafe lane change ticket, they can expect to face both two to three demerit points being added to their driver’s license as well as a fine of $85 and an accompanying government victim surcharge.
Why Do Ontario Motorists Make Unsafe Lane Changes?
A majority of unsafe lane changes occur because motor vehicle drivers are in a hurry or are simply not paying attention to other drivers.
Some of the most common factors involved with unsafe lane changes in Ontario include:
- Drivers who are fatigued or fall asleep at the wheel
- Drivers who fail to check for blinds spot before changing lanes
- Drivers who operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drivers who operate vehicles in a reckless manner
- Using cell phones while operating a motor vehicle
No matter the cause of an unsafe lane change, these driving patterns create a substantial risk of accidents that can lead to life-changing injuries and even fatalities.
Injuries Commonly Caused by Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
Motorists involved in unsafe lane change accidents are at risk of serious injuries, which can include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Rib and torso injuries
In the worst situations, unsafe lane change accidents result in fatalities.
How to Prevent Unsafe Lane Changes in Ottawa
There are a number of strategies that drivers can follow to make sure that they remain safe while on the road and avoid unsafe lane changes. These steps include:
- Make sure you have enough space. Before making any type of lane change, be sure that you have enough space and time to safely switch lanes.
- Properly signal. Under no circumstances should a driver change lanes without first giving a proper signal and making sure that he or she can safely switch lanes.
- Inspect your rearview mirror. In addition to checking a vehicle’s rearview mirrors before changing lanes, it is also a wise idea to check the vehicle’s blind spot by physically looking over your shoulder. Drivers should be particularly careful of bicycles and small vehicles, which can enter the blind spot and cause a crash during an unsafe lane change.
- Do not substantially alter your speed while changing lanes. As you switch lanes, steer gradually. Avoid slowing down. Instead, maintain approximately the same speed.
- Do not weave. Avoid both unnecessary lane changes as well as weaving between lanes. Drivers are much more likely to end up in accidents by driving in this manner.
- Do not change lanes near intersections. Drivers should avoid changing lanes near intersections. It is almost always a better idea to spend a few seconds behind another vehicle than attempting to rush and placing your vehicle in a much more dangerous location.
- Make sure you can safely pass. Do not overtake and pass another vehicle on the road unless you are certain that you can do so without placing yourself or others in harm’s way. If the vehicle you are attempting to pass speeds up, avoid racing. Instead, return to your original lane.
- Avoid passing closing pass to pedestrian crossovers. Do not pass within 30 meters of a pedestrian crossover because this is prohibited in Canada. You should avoid attempting to pass when approaching the crest of a hill or while on a curve where your vision is obscured or limited.
- Properly pass parked vehicles. If you are passing a parked vehicle, remain cautious of people who might suddenly open doors.
- Learn how to change lanes so other drivers can pass you. If other drivers that are traveling faster want to pass you, move to the right lane so they can safely pass. If you are being passed on an undivided road and the other driver has pulled into the opposing lane, remain cautious of oncoming traffic and move closer to the right section of the lane.
- Be cautious while passing at night. Be careful when passing other vehicles at night. If you must pass and the road is clear, you should make sure to return to your lane once you can see the entirety of the vehicle you are passing in your rearview mirror.
- Safely pass on the left and right. Drivers are permitted to pass on the shoulder. You can pass on the right shoulder if a vehicle is on the left only if the shoulder is paved. Drivers are only permitted to pass on the right if they are traveling on a multi-lane or one-way road.
- Properly pass streetcars. Drivers are permitted to pass streetcars on the right unless traveling on a one-way road. If the streetcar stops, remain at least two meters behind the rear doors while passengers embark and disembark.
Speak with an Experienced Ontario Accident Lawyer
Unsafe lane changes are a factor in a number of Ontario accidents. If you are involved in an accident of this nature and need the assistance of an experienced accident lawyer, you should make sure to obtain a lawyer with the experience necessary to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers today.