Every time you get behind the wheel, there is always the risk of an accident and potential road hazards. Few are as immediate and terrifying as unintended lane departure collisions. These sudden swerves, whether towards the rumble strip or across into oncoming traffic, can have devastating consequences like catastrophic injuries or even death.
In this blog, the personal injury attorneys at Patterson Legal Group explain lane departure collisions, what causes them, and how to prevent them.
What Are Lane Departure Collisions?
Lane departure collisions, also known as roadway departure crashes, are a serious type of traffic accident that occurs when a vehicle veers out of its lane and collides with another object. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021, there were 21,326 fatalities in roadway departure crashes, 50 percent of total fatalities. These collisions can be incredibly dangerous and often result in fatalities or injuries. Lane departure collisions can happen in a variety of ways, including:
- Crossing the center line and colliding with oncoming traffic
- Running off the road and hitting an object
- Sideswiping another vehicle in an adjacent lane
What Causes Roadway Departure Crashes?
There are many factors that can contribute to lane departure collisions. Some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted driving: when you are distracted by texting, talking on the phone, eating, or using a GPS, you are not paying attention to the road and you are more likely to drift out of your lane.
- Drowsy driving: driving while drowsy slows your reaction time and increases the risk of accidents, like lane departure collisions.
- Impaired driving: alcohol and marijuana can impair your judgment and coordination, making it difficult to stay in your lane.
- Medical conditions: some medical conditions can affect your vision, reaction time, or coordination.
- Vehicle malfunctions: in some cases, lane departure collisions can be caused by vehicle malfunctions or defects, such as tire blowouts or mechanical problems.
- Road design: poorly designed or maintained roads, such as those with narrow lanes or inadequate lighting, can also contribute to lane departure collisions.
Preventing Lane Departure Crashes
It is impossible to prevent lane departure collisions when there are other drivers on the road acting negligently or recklessly. However, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself and your passengers safe from a lane departure collision while driving.
- Be aware of blind spots: check your blind spots before changing lanes.
- Use lane departure warning systems: some vehicles are equipped with lane departure warning systems that can alert you if you start to drift out of your lane.
- Take breaks on long trips: get out of the car and walk around every few hours to help prevent fatigue.
- Use cruise control: cruise control can help you maintain a steady speed and avoid drifting out of your lane.
- Be aware of your surroundings: pay attention to the road and the traffic around you, especially when driving on dangerous roads.
- Use your turn signals: always use your turn signals when changing lanes.
- Maintain your vehicle: make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Go in for regular maintenance like oil changes and tire checks.
- Check road conditions: before hitting the road, check road conditions for weather alerts, construction, and closures.
- Don’t drive under the influence: never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only is it illegal, but it puts you and others at risk.
Contact Patterson Legal Group
By taking these steps and knowing the causes of lane departure crashes, you can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in a lane departure collision. Remember, safety is always the most important thing on the road. There is always the risk of an accident, especially when other drivers are acting negligently or recklessly. If you or a loved one are injured in a lane departure collision due to no fault of your own, our personal injury lawyers can help you fight for compensation.
Patterson Legal Group has more than 75 years of combined experience successfully representing injury victims in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We have a track record of winning superior settlements for our clients. Our firm offers free consultations and works on a “no win, no fee” basis, which means that you do not pay a dime unless money has been recovered on your behalf.