Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Do Your Highway Passing Skills Need A Review?
Passing is an important detail in safe driving and an essential skill for all drivers. Dangerous passing can cause many traffic accidents, resulting in vehicle damage, injuries, and the need to retain lawyers to assist in getting compensation from those responsible for the accident. The injury lawyers who work with clients involved in car accidents suggest that most of these accidents are preventable. Drivers can improve passing skills and make the roads safer for everyone with better overall observation while driving and a clearer understanding of traffic laws.
Dangerous Misconceptions About Passing
It is dangerous for drivers to have a lack of understanding of traffic laws. Unfortunately, some of the commonly misunderstood traffic laws involve lane changes while passing. Texas statistics for 2013 show that there were 26,057 crashes with injuries reported due to changing lanes when unsafe1. According to attorneys who handle injury claims, drivers who pass incorrectly may cause a high number of accidents that result in injuries by doing the following:
Signaling Before Passing – Some drivers believe that using a turn signal to display intent to pass too soon invites other drivers to speed up and prevent them from passing – which may or may not be true. The fact remains that late signaling causes accidents. An unsignaled lane change does not give other drivers enough time to react to a car changing lanes in front of them. Drivers must put their turn signal on when passing at least 100 feet before the action. Lawyers experienced in handing accident-related injuries strongly urge drivers to wait for the next safe opportunity if other cars speed up after signaling.
Speeding While Passing – Drivers may need to increase their speed a bit when passing; however, they must still stay within the speed limit. Speeding when passing is against the law and injury lawyers cannot change this fact if a client is charged with speeding while passing.
Center Lane Passing – A center lane that is available to traffic going both ways is not a passing lane. Attorneys who represent injured clients state that center lanes should never be used as the results could be deadly. Center lanes are for making left turns only and should be used to pass.
Learn to Estimate Safe Passing Time
Drivers should signal approximately 100 feet or more before passing another car for safety and to prevent serious accidents. An essential driving skill involves knowing how to estimate the amount of time it will take to pass another car. Experienced attorneys say drivers must consider how fast they are going before passing, the distance from their car to the slower car, and the time it actually takes to pass and safely return to the driving lane. Passing can take anywhere from 10 to 40 seconds depending on the speed of travel and the distance required to pass.2 It is important to allow extra space and time to pass, as successfully completing this action is primarily dependent on a driver’s ability to estimate speeds and distances.
Drivers need to aware of the basic details about safe passing, including when and where it can be safely done. Attorneys who handle injury claims urge motorists to always drive safely and learn to pass with care. This is the best way to avoid car accidents that involve passing.
1Texas Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics: Crash Contributing Factors 2013