Preventing Lane Change Crashes

Preventing Lane Change Crashes

Lane change crashes are one of the four “Critical Crashes” because they typically result in severe losses. These types of crashes can be prevented if drivers are able to recognize the hazards that increase the likelihood of a lane change crash and take defensive measures to prevent a loss. Read the information below and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a lane change crash.

Recognize the Hazards


• Dirty, obstructed mirrors

• Poor visibility

• Lack of fender-mounted mirror systems

• Traffic congestion

• Mirrors out of adjustment

Personal behaviors

• Frequent lane changes

• Speeding

• Tailgating/following too closely

• Distractions

• Visual - Looking at anything other than the road ahead

• Manual - Taking one or both hands off the wheel for any reason other than shifting

• Mental - Mind is not focused on driving 

• Improper reaction

• Aggressive driving

• Operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

• Failure to keep windows and mirrors not clean and free of obstructions 

Know the Defense

Maintain one lane

• Avoid frequent lane changes

Maintain proper following distance

• Adhere to the minimum six seconds following distance principle

• Add one second following distance for each hazard present

Observe proper speed for conditions

• Drive 2-3 mph slower than the flow of traffic, not to exceed the posted speed limit

• Adjust speed based on hazards present 

Avoid distractions inside the can and out 

• Put away cell phone, food, etc. 

• Send calls to voicemail 

• Resolve work/family issues before driving

Be attentive to the road ahead

• If you look away from the road ahead, make it a quick glance, less than a second

• Look for slowing traffic ahead

• Program devices (GPS, etc.) before leaving

React properly to hazards

• Apply controlled braking at the first sign of slowing vehicles ahead

• Avoid abrupt lane changes by allowing sufficient stopping distance

Use mirrors properly 

• Make quick glances to mirrors

• Use the "Learn and Look" method to ensure vehicles are not in the front blind spots

• Keep mirrors clean and properly adjusted

The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your Safety Representative, or click below to find an agent.    

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© Copyright Great West Casualty Company 2017. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.


Filed Under:

Drivers, Preventing Crashes




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