Lane Change Scare

I live in Staten Island and I commute to work so I am a weekend driver. I am a fairly new driver, about 6300 miles on my first car in almost 2 years of ownership.

I consider myself a conscientious driver and a cautious driver. No accidents and I try my best not to engage in dangerous behavior on the road.

However, I did recently have a near collision doing a lane change.

I was driving in the middle lane of a 3-lane expressway and needed to change lane to the left lane to exit. I signaled and checked my sideview mirror. I saw a red sedan start to change lane too about four cars behind me too. I assumed that he would see me changing lane in front of him and I start to move left ahead. I hear immediate honking and I swerved toward the the middle lane straddling, I looked in the rear view mirror and he was already right behind me and he in fact had swerved into the middle lane too to avoid me. I immediately sped up and moved back to the left and there was no collision.

If I am behind someone in front of me and I see them signal, I usually slow down. But my mistake is I assume other people will do that too.

If there was a collision, who’s at fault? There’s no doubt he was speeding because I was 5 over the limit and he gained on me really fast. But I was the one who changed lane into the lane he was already in. I judged that there was enough distance to change lane, but I did not expect him to speed up even after seeing that I was signaling and changing lane.

Depends on your state. In my state, no matter who actually caused the wreck, both parties are partially at fault. Even if I’m sitting still at a stop sign and you rear-end me, I am 5% at fault because my car is involved, and another 5% at fault because I was in the car at the time.

From a non-legal perspective, I’d assign blame to both of you for different reasons. He’s to blame because he’s driving like a hyper-aggressive idiot. You’re to blame because most people drive like hyper-aggressive idiots, and you should just assume that’s what they’ll do and position yourself accordingly – i.e. don’t pull out when you see someone behind you is pulling out in case they do what a lot of people do and decide to pretend they’re at a race track.

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If someone pulls into the left or right lane, I immediately assume they are doing so to pass, and will accelerate quickly to keep anyone from getting in front of them and slowing them down. I usually wait for them to pass, then pull in behind them.

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That’s a good tip for me to remember.

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Like you I prefer to be behind the idiots.

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The step you skipped was looking over your shoulder to check your blind spot. You should always do this, even if things look clear in the mirrors. If you have something blocking your view from doing this, you should install wide angle mirrors. They’re smaller and they stick to the stock mirrors, so you can put them in one of the corners.

In some situations, a turn signal is a request, and in some situations, it’s a warning. You will learn the difference through experience.

This might also help:

Don’t feel bad. I did the same thing the first time I drove alone. Thankfully, we both avoided collisions.

It’s hard to say who would have been at fault, because the timing is a little hard to determine. This is either a case where you pulled out in front of someone or the other driver was being overly-aggressive. I don’t know which.

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Living where you do, I suggest that your next car should be one with a blind spot monitor. I’m not a big fan of all the “nanny features” available today, but I am sold on the rear cross traffic monitor (for backing out of a parking spot) and blind spot monitor.

@blueskies You may complain to the monitors about this post but I am going make a suggestion that I really believe is in your best interest. This is your third thread about traffic problems and you are not sure who caused it. Note ( your threads like all of us are on your profile page ). I think you should consider a defensive driving course. I had one through Ryder Truck rental years ago and it still useful to this day.

Yeah lots of idiots on the road that like to stay in blind spots. Is this the same Blueskies from years ago and LeChat House? I thought she was in Washington or Hawaii?

As far as blind spots are concerned.

There is no such thing.

You should always physically look.

No one should ever depend on a mirror.

If you pull into my lane when I am there, it’s your fault.

When I have to exit or change lanes, I do so at least 5 miles in advance.

I still maintain that correctly adjusted mirrors remove the “blind spot”.

Basically you swing the outside mirrors out until there is only a small overlap between those and the inside mirror. Then the only “blind spot” is directly opposite the side of your car, which you can check by a glance sideways, or via one of the small add-on mirrors.


I can think of many places where that is not feasible at all. Over thinking much?

NYC is probably a little more intense than other places, You were diligent and aware, glad all ended well.
Even at near 50 years of driving, stuff happens sometimes. I was watching a guy on our recent 1000 mile road trip, a guy in a pickup hauling a camper tailgating cars in the fast left lane, stay away from that guy I thought as we were on 894 in Milwaukee, ends up this guy is behind me, had a quick slowdown near stop due to traffic jam,I changed lanes when I saw the the camper starting to swerve,cut it close to change lanes and not be in front of him. It gave him just enough room to stop, he ended up in the right lane going 55 the speed limit after that.

I think in our state if you hit any car from behind, you are liable, In case you want to get out of a ticket,

"Some former Chicago Cub pitcher was on radio this morning being interviewed, and it was mentioned that he did a pretty good voice impression of the late and great Harry Carey, the Cub TV baseball announcer. So he started telling the story that Harry got pulled over for speeding in Chicago with a friend riding along. Harry says “Watch this, no problem, I can talk my way out of a speeding ticket”.

Officer, who doesn’t know who Harry Carey is, asks for his driver’s license and car registration. Harry says “I don’t have one, this car is stolen”.

Officer asks Harry to step out of the car, and Harry says “For what it is worth, I have a loaded handgun in the glove compartment”. Officer calls for back-up assistance, and asks the passenger to step out of the car also.

Harry then says “I just as well tell you now, that there is a dead body in the trunk”.

Back-up officer shows up, and he recognizes Harry Carey. The officers go thru Harry’s car, and then the second officer approaches Harry and says “Well, Harry, my partner says you stole this car, but the registration we found says this car is registered in your name. My partner says your have a loaded handgun in the glove box, but all we found were some insurance papers. And then my partner says that you have a dead body in the trunk, nothing in the trunk except a set of golf clubs.”

Harry then says “And I bet the next thing that SOB said was that I was speeding!”.


I have been debating getting a dash cam.

But with all the bad driving I see, I may have one within the month.

I could send in videos to Americas Funnies Videos.

That’s pretty funny. :slight_smile:

There were 3 guys talking about death.

They were talking about how they would like to be remembered at their funeral.

The first said he would like to be remembered as a man who was a humanitarian who really cared about people.

The second said he would like to be remembered as a good father and husband.

The third guy said “I would like someone to say, “Look he’s moving.”

Besides checking blind spot, always good to EASE your way into a lane change and not race track style, as it seems Mr. Behind You did. Easing will often signal to those behind–or even BESIDE drivers if you miss/forget the blind spot!–your intentions. Yes, signal lights important, but may not have been visible enough, given light conditions from your rear. Hard to say, but you did well, and keep on being safe.

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No matter how careful you are, there is always a chance. This weekend I was on the interstate in the middle lane passing a car to my right. After clearing the car by a more than reasonable distance, I turned on my right blinker and started over when a white flash went by me in that lane. I swerved to avoid it, just barely missed it.

I saw the guy coming in my rear view mirror, he was is the left lane and bearing down FAST. I mean really fast. That was one reason I wanted to move over to the right. What I missed when checking my right side mirror before moving over was that he switched all the way from the left to the right lane behind me.

The only reason I could see for that was that the road was curving to the right and he wanted to take the inside lane to save gas. I think he would have saved more gas by not going 100+ mph. BTW, my mirrors are set for the 180 degree view per the Car Talk link above, but I can only see one mirror at a time.

I do not know about the rest of you but around here there is mian US 4 lane highway north to south that a lot of people from the mid west use going & coming from Fla the biggest problem that I see is the ones pulling camper’s or u haul truck’s with trailer’s that pass in the left lane & can not judge the distance when pulling back to right lane I dont know how many time’s I have almost been hit that way.

If I read the OP correctly there was no blind spot. You pulled into a lane you observed another car already entering. I would fault you for not taking half a second to calculate the other driver’s speed. If he was running faster than you you should have waited for him to pass. You caused him to have to hit his brakes thus he also hit his horn. Had you judged his speed the same as yours then you could have changed lanes in front of him.
About blind spots – true there is no such thing as a blind spot if your rear view mirror and both outside mirrors are adjusted properly. Many people don’t know how to adjust an outside mirror. I’ll say this – just before you lose the view of another vehicle in your rear view mirror as they are passing on either side of you then you should begin to see them in one of your side mirrors. You will continue to see them in the side mirror until you then see them in your peripheral vision. Some drivers will not properly adjust their side mirrors because they want to see their rear bumpers. I’ll admit it’s strange to look in a side mirror and see the trees going by. My mirrors arre adjusted so I don’t have a blind spot and I sometimes back a boat trailer. When doing that all I have to do is lean to the left or right to see the trailer in my side mirror.

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I have used the small add-on mirrors for over 350,000 miles. With the left one on the regular left side mirror, there is no left side blind spot at all, and I do not need to use more than one mirror for that. It shows the entire left side of the car, and also the lane beside me.

Ditto for right side set-up.

Part of it is I have used that exact lay-out for the full 350,000 miles, and using it is as close to automatic as anything involving driving can be.

It also helps to learn a scan pattern so you never forget to check all possible places. I have read that fighter pilots in WWII used to do that.

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