An innocent driver suffered serious injuries when another person attempted to change lanes without warning on I-64 outside of Richmond, Virginia (VA). The incident occurred near the Staples Mill Road exits in Henrico County on the morning of February 8, 2018.
Virginia State Police responded to the crash scene at around 9:40 am. Troopers found the injured driver trapped in his car and the vehicle driven by the person who made the unsafe lane change collided with a tractor-trailer that had stopped earlier for a traffic backup.
The injured driver was transported to VCU Medical Center for treatment and is expected to survive. No injuries were suffered by the at-fault driver or the tractor-trailer operator.
State Police filed a preliminary charge for making an unsafe lane change against the first driver. They also opened a broader investigation to determine if other factors played a role. The current charge could come under one of two state statutes.
Section 46.2-804(2) of the Virginia Code states, “A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as is practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has ascertained that such movement can be made safely.” In other words, drivers must check their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
The other relevant statute is section 46.2-838(A) of the Virginia Code. It reads, “The driver of any vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at least two feet to the left of the overtaken vehicle and shall not again drive to the right side of the highway until safely clear of such overtaken vehicle, except as otherwise provided in this article.” This places a legal duty on drivers to exercise great caution when changing lanes.
Based on news reports about this crash on I-64 in Henrico County, what appears to have happened is that the at-fault driver came up on a line of stopped vehicles and suddenly cut over to avoid the delay. This is a natural reaction, but it is also a dangerous one. All cars and truck have large blind spots, and other vehicles can come up alongside drivers very quickly at highway speeds. Taking the time to make sure an accompanying lane is completely clear before signaling and moving over prevents crashes, avoids injuries and saves lives.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I urge all drivers to check and double check before changing lanes. We also wish the person hurt in this crash outside of Richmond a full and rapid recovery.