Many of us have changed lanes too quickly, maybe forgot to put on our blinker or failed to cut in front of a driver too soon. Some people may view this as a minor traffic infraction, but do not take a lax approach when changing lanes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 9 percent of all car accidents occurred when vehicles were changing lanes or merging. That equates to over 500,000 car wrecks in the United States. An improper lane change could wind up causing a major car accident which in turn results in serious injury or death.

A recent example is when four women were traveling on Interstate 95 (I-95) in Halifax County near the Virginia (VA) border when the driver made an improper lane change. This mistake resulted in the car veering off the road and crashing into the woods.

One of the passengers, JoAnn Bouchard, was killed. Two other passengers, Claudette Bison and Beverly Oliveira, suffered serious injuries, according to

As you can see, a quick lane change is not something to take for granted. The consequences can be devastating.

Here are some important tips about changing lanes:

  • Always use your blinkers (i.e. turn signals).
  • Only change one lane at a time, not two of three lanes in one maneuver.
  • Never change lanes in an area where the lanes are separated by solid lines, only do so around dashed lines.
  • Never cut anyone off while changing lanes.
  • Avoid changing lanes in a school zone.
  • Do not change lanes in an intersection, or too close before the intersection.