Louisiana & Texas Personal Injury Lawyers
Improper Passing

Shreveport Improper Passing Accident Lawyer

Accident caused by improper lane change

Louisiana and Texas have established strict rules for safe lane passing. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to comply with these rules, zigzagging in and out of traffic and increasing the likelihood of car wrecks.

Click on one of the links below to jump directly to that section and get answers about accidents caused by dangerous lane changes. Find out what victims need to know and what they are entitled to.

Read on to learn more about improper lane passes and how to avoid them. We'll also cover what to do if you've been hurt by an improper lane pass car accident and how experienced Shreveport improper lane passing accident attorneys can help you recover your losses.

What Is an Improper or Unsafe Lane Change?

In Shreveport, Louisiana state law shapes the rules of the road and details what is legal versus illegal regarding safe lane changes. In general, the law states the following:

  • Drivers should use signals to warn other motorists when they plan on changing lanes.
  • Drivers should not initiate a lane change unless there is sufficient room.

These laws apply to daily traffic as well as for emergency vehicles that need to pass and make lane changes, rather they are en route to an emergency or parked on the side of the road. Any driver that fails to comply with these laws could be liable for making dangerous or illegal lane changes.

Several examples of risky driving maneuvers include:

  • Changing lanes without enough time to do so safely
  • Taking up two lanes of traffic
  • Changing lanes before checking blind spots
  • Changing lanes without using signals
  • Accidentally using the wrong blinker before changing lanes

Any of these mistakes can increase your risk of a dangerous roadway accident.

Lane Passing on Single-Lane Roads

Louisiana law permits lane passing on one-lane roads only if:

  • A vehicle in front of a car (the leading vehicle) is making a left-hand turn and
  • There is enough obstruction-free space on the right to pass safely

It's illegal for drivers to drive off the pavement (i.e., onto the grass or a curb) to pass on the right side, even if the leading vehicle is waiting to make a left-hand turn.

Lane Passing on Multiple-Lane Roads and Highways

In Louisiana, left lanes exist to alleviate congestion for turning and passing vehicles. That's why left lanes of multi-lane roads are typically reserved for passing slower vehicles in right-hand lanes, unless there's an emergency vehicle or the right lane is closed. Left lanes are also reserved for making left-hand turns.

You can be fined for driving in left lanes if you're not using them to pass or turn.

School Bus Passing Laws

Louisiana law does not permit drivers to pass school buses with flashing red lights or extended stop signs.

You must follow this law whether you're in the oncoming lanes of traffic on a two- to four-lane road that doesn't have a median separating opposite traffic lanes, or if you are following a bus traveling in the same direction. The only time drivers can pass stopped school buses is if they're in the opposing traffic lanes on five-lane roads with medians separating opposite traffic lanes.

Emergency Vehicle Passing Laws

Shreveport is no exception to Louisiana state law that requires drivers to move away from parked automobiles and emergency vehicles. This includes incidents when police are making traffic stops or helping car accident victims. Known as move-over laws, these statutes also apply when roadway work crews and transportation officials are working or parked on the road.

You should move to the left lane when transportation or emergency vehicles are parked on the right side of the road. However, you should move to the right if the parked vehicles are on the left side of the road. You're also required to slow down when passing parked cars, whether you have to move to the left or right traffic lane to do so.

Why Do Drivers Make Unsafe Lane Changes?

We've all seen drivers making risky maneuvers in Shreveport. Sometimes they are justified, like when a car darts suddenly into the next lane to avoid a potential collision or some other obstacle. However, most examples of risky driving are wholly unjustified and simply the result of negligence, recklessness, or carelessness by the driver. These unjustified risky behaviors are more likely to occur when the driver is:

  • Distracted: Distracted drivers are less aware of what's happening in their environment and may not react as quickly to potential dangers and other unsafe drivers. They are more likely to become either a victim of another risky driver or a danger themselves. In fact, driver distraction is a risk factor in up to 57% of improper lane changing accidents.
  • Impaired: Most people are aware of the danger of drunk or drugged drivers. They tend to lack perception and their reaction time is prolonged. They may not notice other vehicles or obstacles in their environment and may even drift into neighboring lanes without realizing it.
  • Fatigued: A tired driver is comparable to an impaired one. After 24 hours without sleep, a tired driver may be just as impaired as a drunk driver.
  • Careless: Drivers who are careless about roadway safety and traffic laws may exhibit risky driving behavior in general. Factors such as inexperience and road rage can increase a motorist's carelessness while driving.

The truth is, there is no excuse for improperly changing lanes. No matter the reason, these drivers can ultimately cause terrible accidents, resulting in property damage, debilitating injuries, and even death. A risky motorist should be held liable for their dangerous and illegal actions.

How Do Unsafe Lane Changes Result in Motor Accidents?

Motorists who don't follow Shreveport lane passing laws elevate accident risks for everyone around them. Specifically, improper lane passing results in car accidents whenever drivers:

  • Drive in shoulder or bike lanes to pass other vehicles
  • Don't stop for school buses that are dropping off or picking up children
  • Fail to move over for emergency vehicles that are parked at the side of the road
  • Fail to slow down when passing others in complex traffic conditions, such as when one lane is closed for upgrades or highway repairs
  • Change lanes without checking blind spots
  • Zigzag in and out of traffic. This happens when drivers suddenly, with little to no warning, move between traffic lanes to inch their way ahead. Drivers are most likely to do this when:
    • There's a lot of congestion on the roads
    • They're pressed for time and think that zigzagging will speed up their arrival time
    • They're angry. Motorists may be using zigzagging to drive aggressively, act out, and catch up to other drivers.

When drivers engage in these dangerous actions, they increase the risk of:

  • Rear-end collisions. When there's a lot of traffic, zigzagging drivers are likely to misjudge speeds and the amount of room they have to maneuver into another lane. If the vehicle in front of them suddenly stops, the zigzagger can accidentally rear-end that vehicle. They may also be rear-ended by the vehicles behind them, resulting in pile-up crashes, multiple victims, and catastrophic injuries.
  • Jackknifing, rollovers, and underride wrecks. If a zigzagging driver races ahead of big rigs without warning or enough room, truck drivers may suddenly swerve or hit the brakes to avoid crashing. This could lead to jackknifing trailers or rollovers, particularly if roads are slick.
  • Sideswipe crashes. Drivers may overlook others in their blind spots when trying to zigzag between lanes. This can lead to disastrous consequences, such as running vehicles off the road, sideswiping cars, and running over pedestrians.

How To Confirm Whether Improper Lane Passing Caused Your Car Accident

If you saw a driver violate Shreveport improper lane passing laws, here's what you need to do to confirm that improper lane passing caused or contributed to your car wreck:

  1. Ask yourself what happened before the crash. Establish a clear idea of what happened right before the crash by considering:
    1. Which drivers committed improper lane passing maneuvers?
    2. How were you hit or involved in the car accident?
    3. Did you fail to comply with improper lane passing rules?
    4. Were there any parties that caused or contributed to the crash? For instance, the city could've contributed to the crash by failing to take proper care of the road.
  2. Hire a knowledgeable Shreveport improper lane passing attorney: The right lawyer will help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses.

Talk to a Shreveport Improper Lane Passing Accident Lawyer

Negligent drivers who make improper lane changes or pass other cars unsafely can cause horrific car accidents that may lead to extensive property damage, life-threatening injuries, and even death to other innocent motorists. If you find yourself impacted by a reckless driver, you need a five-star Shreveport improper lane changes accident lawyer on your side.

Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers understands the myriad challenges victims face when making lane change accident claims. We're ready to help you recover your damages and fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. We will help you file and advance your case in court and help you get back on your feet.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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