The sheer number of serious and fatal traffic accidents and growing incidents of road rage indicate that the rules of the road are often misunderstood or disregarded. Even traffic moves as straightforward as merging can lead to catastrophic injuries or chain reactions involving multiple vehicles on busy highways.
Who has the right of way when merging?
Whether entering a highway or combining lanes due to construction, traffic laws give the right of way to those who are in through traffic, i.e., the non-merging driver. It is the responsibility of the driver wanting to merge to yield and merge only when it’s safe. The merging driver should use the acceleration lane to match the speed of the through drivers, but they should not exceed the speed limit, cut off the other driver nor pull in too closely behind the vehicle just ahead.
Merging is always subject to the conditions of the road. Merging onto a highway with heavy traffic or during bad weather is different from merging when the roadway is clear. Alternatively, just because a through driver has the right of way doesn’t mean that they should intentionally block a merging driver or fail to move over if they can. Common sense and etiquette play a big part in good driving habits.
Don’t sacrifice your safety
Keeping yourself and your riders safe is always the best rule of the road, even when you have the right of way. How many accidents could be avoided if drivers engage in common courtesy? Far too many accidents are caused every year by motorists who disobey traffic laws and by those who simply make bad decisions. Perhaps drawing on etiquette rather than your right of way is what’s needed to get home safely.
Unfortunately, you can do everything right and still be involved in a serious car accident. If you are injured, find out what options you have for financial recovery.