What is Considered an Improper Lane Change in Atlanta?

Posted in Car Accidents on October 24, 2018

In 2016, 1,554 people died in Georgia traffic accidents. Improper lane changes and lane departures are common causes of serious and fatal car accidents, especially in busy metropolitan Atlanta. Drivers merging without looking, failing to use turn signals, and weaving through traffic can easily cause lane-change car crashes and related injuries. Learn the technical definition of an “improper lane change” in Georgia, as well as its potential criminal and civil consequences.

What Does the Georgia Motor Vehicle and Traffic Code Say?

Georgia has a statute in place that specifically addresses changing lanes, signaling turns, and turning movements. Georgia Code Section 40-6-123(b) states that, when changing lanes, a driver must give a continuous signal of intention to sufficiently alert other drivers. Failing to use a turn signal when trying to merge to the left or right constitutes a breach of this statute, and could be grounds for the driver to receive a traffic violation citation. If a driver causes an accident from failure to signal his/her intent to merge, that driver could be liable for damages. Other actions that could constitute an improper lane change include:

  • Failing to check mirrors for other vehicles
  • Failing to look in known blind spots
  • Merging when there isn’t enough space
  • Swooping in front of a vehicle and hitting the brakes
  • Driving on the line between lanes for an extended period
  • Ignoring traffic or weather conditions while changing lanes
  • Changing lanes in a Do Not Pass area, on a hill or corner
  • Speeding while making a lane change

Any of these unsafe practices could cause a collision between two or more vehicles in Atlanta. Merging or changing lanes incorrectly can make it impossible for other vehicles to maneuver out of the way in time to prevent a collision. Checking if the coast is clear, signaling intent to switch lanes, and merging slowly can give other drivers plenty of warning in advance. Improper lane changes can cause side-swipe accidents, rear-end collisions, and lane departure accidents.

Did an Improper Lane Change Cause Your Atlanta Car Accident?

Every day, hundreds of drivers make unsafe and negligent lane changes in Atlanta. Improper lane changes are common on congested city streets, where drivers are often too impatient or hurried to signal their intents or check before merging. Improper passing is more common on rural Georgia roads, where drivers may try to pass across solid lines to get out from behind a slower driver. If an improper lane change of any kind caused your recent car accident, you may have grounds for a case against the at-fault driver.

Like most states, Georgia follows a fault-based car insurance system. This means the driver or other party at-fault for the car accident will be financially responsible for related damages. In an improper lane change collision, the driver that took the improper action and caused the collision will be the one liable for damages. His or her auto insurance company will have to provide compensation to all crash victims, for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses. As the victim of a car accident in Georgia, you have a few different options for obtaining compensation.

First, get the at-fault driver’s name and insurance information. Request emergency attention for any injuries. Call the other driver’s insurance company as soon as you can to report the crash. Explain that the driver made an improper lane change, and that you are seeking benefits for your damages. The insurance company will investigate the accident and either accept or deny your claim. If you get a claim denial, or the company won’t offer what you think your case is worth, you may be better off filing a personal injury lawsuit in the Atlanta civil court. Talk to one of our Atlanta personal injury attorneys for more recovery information.

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