Side swipe accidents occur when a driver is in a situation where they either fail to look for other vehicles or when the driver does look, but does not see another vehicle.
The most common causes of side swipe collisions include:
- Improper mirror usage
- Failure to stay in the right lane
- Not signaling or waiting too long to communicate intentions to vehicles in blind spots
- Misjudging space available to safely change lanes
- Changing lanes unnecessarily
Drivers should be vigilant in watching for vehicles in their No-Zone, and be aware that other vehicles may not know about a big truck’s various blind spots. The FMCSA reminds CMV drivers to be aware that their blind spots are large enough that a passenger vehicle can virtually disappear from view.
Follow these tips to make lane changes as safe as possible:
- Only change lanes when necessary
- Pick a lane and stay in it for as long as possible
- Use turn signals to indicate your intent
- Visually scan for traffic and road hazards before executing a lane change
- Check blind spot mirrors using the lean and look method every 3 to 5 seconds
Remember, communication is key. Signal intentions to other drivers well in advance of a lane change. This puts drivers in a safer position to execute maneuvers on the road.