How to Stay Safe While Merging

Driving on any highway includes the chance of needing to merge. Lanes may switch, an incident may have occurred ahead, and sometimes merging helps the overall flow of traffic. However, it’s not always easy to get to the lane you need to be in, especially when everyone else is trying to do the same.

Sometimes it can feel like other drivers are in a race, with everyone trying to get where they need to go first, without any consideration of others. We’ve all felt some form of frustration when someone cuts us off or refuses to leave space for us to merge. Though it may seem necessary to force your way into the lane you want to be in, doing so can result in an accident.

If two drivers are attempting to enter the same space, sideswipes and T-bone accidents can occur. These impacts can cause substantial damage on their own, and they can cause cars to swerve off the highway, into guardrails, or into other cars.

Merging into traffic can delay your drive, but getting into an accident will only prolong your trip further. It’s important to know how to merge safely so that everyone can make it to his or her destination without incident.

Safe Merging Strategies

Often merging accidents are the result of attempting to force a merge, or by not paying attention to your surroundings. To avoid car crashes, you should keep these concepts in mind while merging:

  • Turn on your signal before merging so that surrounding cars know you intend to merge
  • Check all blind spots with mirrors and physically turning
  • Cross only one lane of traffic at a time
  • Focus on the car you want to get behind and not just the car you want to be in front of
  • Match the flow of traffic before attempting to merge
  • See where you need to make a final decision about merging
  • Use road lines to judge the best places to merge
  • Yield to others in the lane you want to enter without stopping

While you cannot control other drivers on the road, you can control yourself. Using safe merging practices and staying aware and alert of your surroundings so that you can react accordingly can prevent merging accidents.

Being Courteous to Other Drivers

You are not going to be the only person who wants to merge into other lanes. Creating a safe opportunity for someone else to merge can help prevent risky merging decisions. Some things you can do when you notice others trying to merge are:

  • Adjust your speed to let merging cars in
  • Allow at least one vehicle to merge in front of you during traffic jams and other clustered roadway conditions
  • Don’t cut off traffic gaps just because you see someone about to merge
  • If there is notice that you’ll need to merge ahead, do so as soon as possible
  • On roads where there are additional lanes, move to the next lane over if you see that several vehicles are attempting to merge
  • Pay attention to traffic ramps to see if someone is merging at the same time you’ll be passing the ramp

While it can be frustrating to realize you’ll be behind another car when you let someone merge in front of you, allowing other drivers into the flow of traffic can prevent backup at entry points and lane closures, making an easier drive for everyone.

A little attention and courtesy can go a long way in preventing merging accidents. Even so, when such incidents occur, you may be eligible for compensation for any damages that resulted from the car crash. Consulting an attorney can help you with determining fault in an accident and winning your rightful compensation.