Last month, citing official statistics, Gulf News reported that sudden lane swerving caused 438 accidents in the UAE last year, leading to the death of 59 people, while 495 were injured. This did not come as a surprise, as lane swerving has been the leading cause of deadly traffic accidents in the country for many years, ahead of other offenses such as speeding and tailgating.
The main causes for lane swerving are distracted driving and the failure to indicate a driver’s intention to switch lanes, leaving motorists on the other lanes with the little chance to react and prevent accidents.
The main causes for lane swerving are distracted driving and the failure to indicate a driver’s intention to switch lanes, leaving motorists on the other lanes with the little chance to react and prevent accidents. Lane swerving can also be caused by rushed manoeuvers such as taking an exit too late and changing lanes abruptly. From several research projects that RoadSafetyUAE has conducted, we have seen that running late for work or an appointment often leads motorists to display aggressive behaviour on the roads. This also plays a role in causing lane change accidents.
It is critical for driving schools to make aspiring motorists aware of the need for safe lane changes. Apart from teaching them the technical aspects of changing lanes properly, schools need to address the underlying causes leading to lane swerving (and other) accidents. This can be taught in life skills classes, so that students understand the root causes of accidents such as the lack of time management and respect for other road users, social pressure, and the lack of tolerance and patience. This will help young drivers behave responsibly and also react appropriately to any surprise on the road.
How to do it right
Tips for motorists to avoid errors while changing lanes
- Concentrate when changing lanes, especially in dense traffic.
- Look in front of you, behind you and next to you to ensure you are clear to change lanes.
- Use your indicator a few seconds before you change lanes.
- Be mindful of those around you and observe the different speeds of the cars on the other lanes.
- If you want to exit, go to the exit lane on time.
- If you need to cross multiple lanes, do it one-by-one and check carefully prior to each lane change.
- Be considerate to other drivers who want to change their lanes.
- Many new cars come with lane departure warning and assistance systems — consider this key safety feature in your buying decision.
— The writer is Founder and Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE. For more tips like these, visit Roadsafetyuae.com