A sideswipe collision or accident occurs when one vehicle swipes or impacts against the side of another vehicle driving parallel to it. This can occur if driving both in the same or opposite directions as the first vehicle. This type of motor vehicle accident typically occurs when one of the two vehicles involved in the accident moved out of the lane it was traveling in when it was not safe to do such.
This type of accident can occur for a variety of reasons. Most of them stem from lack of proper attention to your surroundings. Some common causes of sideswipe accidents are listed below.
- Intoxication: Drivers under the influence may struggle to operate their vehicles and are often found weaving in and out of lanes.
- Speeding: Driving at a high speed can make it harder for drivers to control the vehicle and thus, can accidentally slide into other lanes.
- Distractions: Distractions can cause a driver to accidentally slip into other lanes. Top distractions include passengers in the vehicle, the radio, and electronic devices.
- Failure to properly signal a lane change: Failing to show other drivers on the road where a car is planning to go can cause an accident.
- Hydroplaning: Icy or wet roads can cause the vehicle to move into other lanes.
- Merging: Changing lanes without checking the other lane thoroughly and maintaining the proper speed can cause a bad accident.
- Blind Spots: Vehicles that sit in another’s blind spot are much more at risk for a sideswipe collision, especially in high clearance vehicles, due to the large blind spots they have.
- Road Rage: Drivers experiencing road rage can be highly illogical and as such commit illogical acts such as deliberately causing accidents which include sideswipe collisions.
Who is the at fault driver in a sideswipe collision? The at fault driver in a sideswipe collision is generally the driver who fails to maintain a single lane, however the liability can be shared by other drivers if they did something to force the vehicle out of its lane. What happens if multiple parties caused the accident? Who pays for the damages? This depends on what state the accident occurred in and if it is an at-fault or no-fault state. In an at fault state there are other factors to look at, such as if the state is a comparative negligence or contributory negligence state. Each state has specific rules. Texas, for instance, is a comparative negligence state. If the case went to trial, the jury would weigh the negligence of both parties involved in the accident. If found by the jury to be fifty percent or less at fault, you might recover that percent of the damages. If found at fifty one percent at fault or to be the cause of the accident, you would be unable to recover anything. In no-fault states, your own insurance pays for the damages to both your person and vehicle. If you happen to live in a contributory negligence state or the accident occurred in one and any percentage of liability is assessed to you, you may be completely unable to recover any damages at all.
How can I help prevent sideswipe accidents?
- Check your blind spots before changing lanes. Every time you change lanes, make sure to carefully check your blind spots to ensure another vehicle has not gotten into it while your attention was elsewhere.
- Keep an eye on high clearance vehicles and eighteen wheelers. Drivers of larger trucks sit high off the road to help improve visibility. They still have large blind spots, which can contribute to accidents. When traveling next to these types of vehicles, try to keep out of their blind spot even if that means decreasing or increasing your speed to travel in a location that is safer.
- Be careful while merging. When merging, make sure there is enough room for your vehicle to complete the maneuver. If you notice another vehicle trying to merge lanes, take care that your vehicle is not in the way.
- Avoid driving while intoxicated. By avoiding driving while intoxicated you can keep yourself and others on the road safer.
- Keep an eye on other drivers. Watching other drivers is important any time you share the road with other vehicles. If you notice another vehicle driving erratically or swerving, attempt to stay out of their way even if it means pulling over until they pass by. This decreases your chance of getting in an accident.
Sideswipe accidents can cause serious damage and injuries to both drivers and vehicles, especially on the side of the vehicle that was hit. If you were in a sideswipe collision and suffered injuries, a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, can assist you with both understanding your accident claim and with the claim itself.