Fleet Safety

Changing Lanes Safely

Dangerous lane changes can easily lead to crashes and near misses. State Farm offers the following advice on changing lanes safely.

Changing lanes in traffic moving in the same direction as your vehicle:

  • Before changing lanes, look in your rearview and side mirrors and then glance over your shoulder in the direction you intend to change lanes.
  • Make sure no objects obstruct your path and no vehicles are rapidly approaching from the rear in the lane you intend to move into. If it’s clear, use your vehicle’s turn signal to indicate your intention to change lanes.
  • The front of any vehicle to your side should be clearly visible in your rearview mirror before you move into the lane ahead of them so you don’t cut them off.
  • The presence of a solid white line lane divider indicates that lane changes are prohibited.

Changing lanes in opposing traffic in order to pass a vehicle:

  • Before changing lanes into approaching traffic, you should be certain that you have ample visibility, time and clearance to pass the vehicle in front of you.
  • You should also verify that you have unobstructed travel into the opposing lane from vehicles attempting to pass your vehicle from the rear.
  • You should be cautious of vehicles you are attempting to pass that may be slowing to make a left-hand turn that may turn into your path.
  • Exercise caution when passing a vehicle slowing to make a right-hand turn since cross traffic may attempt to enter the intersection and into your path — especially in situations when your vehicle may be blocked from view by the turning vehicle you are attempting to pass.
  • You should become familiar with laws in your state regarding lane change prohibitions in advance of intersections, on bridges, and in no-passing zones. Solid yellow lines dividing lanes indicate no-passing zones.

To view a video from the California DMV, click on the photo or link above. You may notice the video’s advice varies a little from State Farm’s. The California DMV recommends activating the turn signal before checking mirrors and looking over your shoulder. If you want to offer your own opinion on the matter, or you have more tips on changing lanes, please leave a comment.

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