We have all been in a situation where another driver recklessly changes lanes or starts merging without using their turn signal. Unfortunately, lane change accidents are not uncommon, and they regularly cause severe injuries on the roadways throughout Georgia. Here, we want to discuss improper lane changes, what the law says about these actions, and the overall dangers associated with an improper lane change.
What is considered an improper lane change?
There are many ways in which a lane change could be considered unsafe. This could include something as simple as a person changing lanes without using their turn signals or starting to signal after they have already begun their lane change.
However, even when a driver uses their turn signal properly, there are still many opportunities for a lane change to be considered unsafe. Drivers must still yield the right of way and not change lanes until it is clear for them to do so. An unsafe lane change is any such change that causes hazardous driving conditions for drivers in any of the lanes around the driver wishing to change lanes. This can occur when a driver tries to make the lane change too quickly or when the driver forces themselves into a space too small for their vehicle.
Georgia laws on improper lane changes
We can see language specific to lane changes in this state when we turn to Georgia Code Title 40. Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 40-6-123. Under the state code, the law specifically says that “A signal of intention to turn right or left or change lanes when required shall be given continuously for a time sufficient to alert the driver of a vehicle proceeding from the rear in the same direction or a driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.”
In layman’s terms, drivers must appropriately signal their intention to change lanes for a sufficient amount of time to let other drivers know. Additionally, other laws in Georgia’s vehicle code require drivers to yield the right of way when appropriate. Between the improper lane change laws and yield laws in Georgia, there should be no reason that a driver would not understand when it is appropriate and not appropriate to change lanes.
Penalties for improper lane changes
Returning to Georgia’s traffic code (O.C.G.A. 40-6-48), we can see that a driver can face a citation for improper lane changes, erratic lane changes, or a failure to maintain their lane. If a driver is written a citation by law enforcement officials for a violation of this vehicle code, the penalty is three points accumulated against their driver’s license.
Additionally, if a driver causes a crash as a result of their improper lane change, law enforcement officials may deem them to be at fault for the incident. This could have serious consequences when it comes to an insurance settlement or in a personal injury lawsuit by another party against the driver that completed the improper Lane change.
Dangers of an improper lane change
At the very least, an improper lane change will cause an inconvenience to other drivers on the roadway. However, an improper lane change can also lead to severe accidents. These unsafe actions could lead to a cascade of events, including causing drivers to slam on their brakes, swerve into other lanes, or swerve off the roadway to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for improper lane changes to lead to accidents that cause severe injuries, including broken or dislocated bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and more. Many lane change accidents throughout Georgia result in fatalities. If you or a loved one was involved in a lane change accident caused by a negligent driver, contact our Peachtree City car accident attorney to hold the responsible party or parties accountable for their actions.