Driving is full of risks. From other drivers acting negligently to poor road conditions and vehicle malfunctions, putting your keys in the ignition and hitting the road can be unpredictable and deadly. One of the most dangerous situations drivers face is lane departure collisions. These types of crashes happen quickly and can result in catastrophic injuries or even death.
In this blog, our Las Vegas injury lawyers explain lane departure collisions and offer some tips on how to prevent them.
What Are Lane Departure Collisions?
Lane departure collisions, also known as roadway departure crashes, are a serious type of accident that occurs when a vehicle veers out of its lane and collides with something else. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roadway departures were attributed to a staggering 21,326 fatalities (50% of all traffic deaths) in 2021. This can happen in a variety of ways, including:
- Crossing the center line and colliding with oncoming traffic
- Running off the road and hitting an object such as trees, ditches, other vehicles, or even pedestrians
- Striking guardrails, curbs, or potholes can damage the vehicle and potentially cause loss of control
- Sideswiping another vehicle in an adjacent lane
- Rollover accidents
Causes of Roadway Departure Crashes
Lane departure collisions can stem from a variety of causes, but the culprits usually fall into three categories: driver errors, vehicle issues, and road design flaws.
- Distracted driving: distractions can come from many sources, such as cell phones, passengers, eating, or adjusting the radio.
- Drowsy driving: fatigue can impair judgment and reaction time, making it difficult for drivers to stay in their lane.
- Impaired driving: alcohol, drugs, and even certain medications can affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
- Speeding: driving too fast for the conditions can make it difficult to control the vehicle. Speeding increases the likelihood of a driver losing control.
- Medical conditions: some medical conditions, such as epilepsy or narcolepsy, can cause drivers to lose consciousness or experience sudden changes in alertness, which can lead to lane departure collisions.
- Mechanical problems: tire blowouts, malfunctioning brakes, or other mechanical problems can cause a vehicle to veer out of its lane.
- Vehicle design: trucks or SUVs have a higher center of gravity, which can make them more likely to roll over if they leave the road, especially in high winds.
Road design flaws
- Poor road design: narrow lanes, inadequate shoulders, or lack of lane markings can all contribute to lane departure collisions.
- Weather conditions: rain, snow, or ice can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, which can increase the risk of lane departure collisions.
How to Prevent Lane Departure Wrecks
Even though lane departure collisions are a serious concern on the road, it is impossible to prevent them from happening due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness. There are a few things you can do while driving to help keep you and your passengers safe.
- Use proper lane positioning: drive in the center of your lane, avoiding the edges where lane markings may be faded or unclear.
- Take breaks on long trips: fatigue can impair your judgment and reaction time. Take breaks every few hours to stretch and refresh yourself.
- Choose a car with lane departure warning (LDW) and lane departure prevention (LDP) systems: these systems use sensors to detect if you’re drifting out of your lane and provide alerts or even corrective steering adjustments.
- Maintain your vehicle properly: ensure your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread depth, as worn or damaged tires can affect handling and grip.
- Adjust your mirrors: properly adjusted mirrors can give you better visibility of blind spots and help you stay aware of your surroundings.
- Pay attention to your surroundings: avoid distractions while driving, like texting, and always pay attention to the road.
- Never drive impaired: if you’re going to be drinking or using marijuana, do not drive. Call a taxi or a rideshare service.
- Be extra cautious in high-risk situations: be especially vigilant at nighttime, in bad weather, on unfamiliar roads, or when taking medications that may affect alertness.
- Avoid tailgating: watch your following distance when driving. Tailgating limits your reaction time and increases the risk of swerving if the car ahead brakes suddenly. Keep a safe distance based on the speed and weather conditions.
Contact a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer
Knowing the causes of lane departure collisions is the key to preventing them. While taking precautions can significantly reduce your risk, there’s always a chance of encountering negligent or reckless drivers. If you or a loved one are unfortunately injured in a lane departure collision due to no fault of your own, the Las Vegas car accident attorneys at ER Injury Attorneys can help.
Our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you understand your legal options, fight for the compensation you deserve, and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We’ve helped clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Boulder City, and Pahrump obtain damages like pain and suffering, lost wages, and more for their injuries. We are available 24/7 to help.