As we approach the holiday season, with the hustle and bustle, it is an excellent time to take a moment and remember some road rules for drivers during this season. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, we commit ourselves to help those who are injured by the negligence of others – RECOVER. Recover physically, emotionally, and financially. But we also believe that we must help people avoid situations that may put them in danger or endanger others. So for this holiday season, here are some tips and rules to remember while driving. Houston Injury Attorney
1, Don’t Text and Drive!
As of September 1, 2017, texting and driving are illegal everywhere in Texas. So is talking on the phone unless you are using a hands-free device. Some cities ban all cellphone use while driving outright. According to the National Safety Council, 1 of every four accidents involves a distracted driver. Texting and driving may not only result in a ticket. If you injure someone, you could face up to a year in prison. Please don’t do it!
2. Maintain Your Lane
Frequent lane changing slows down other drivers. And it increases traffic congestion and exponentially increases the risk of initiating a collision. Technology on vehicles has come a long way with blind spot indicators, but they are not without their flaws. Officially, the Texas Transportation Code requires drivers to drive as nearly as practically entirely within a single lane and must move lanes safely. Use a turn signal when you want to change lanes. Do not attempt a lane change unless you can match the speed and maintain adequate following distance for the vehicles in front of and behind you. What happens if I move to the lane to my left while someone is moving to the same route to his right and a collision occurs? In Texas, a driver must yield to traffic on their left when entering a lane from the right. Therefore, the driver moving into the street from the left would have the right-of-way. The left lane is for passing, and they generally try to vacate the left lane as they no longer pass. (Yes, Texas Drivers – the left lane is for death – not driving fast!)
3. Do not Tailgate!
Well, tailgating sometimes is a great and fun thing to do with friends. Tailgating at a college football or NFL game on a Sunday with a grill is perfectly okay and encouraged. But tailgating your grill on someone’s bumper during regular driving is never okay. If that driver must slow down or brake and you hit them, then that driver may suffer an injury, in which case they will be looking to hire a Houston personal injury lawyer like us! So please, leave the tailgating to athletic events and off the roadway. It is just never a good idea.
4. To Merge or not to Merge – That is the Question!
Merging seems to be one of those things like flushing a toilet. We’re not sure exactly how it works, but we all know we should do it. Again, Texas law makes it clear that a driver must yield to traffic on their left when merging. However, if the lane on the left ends and integrates into your street, which continues, who fails to who? Well, it’s pretty simple. Legally, the vehicle doing the merging must yield to cars already driving in the lane. So if you are in the left lane and merge into the right lane, you must pay to the vehicles to your right.
5. Always Yield to Pedestrians and Bicycles Houston Injury Attorney
Remember Driver’s Ed? One of the things that drivers we learn as a basic rule in driving is always to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Yes, sometimes people can act Darwinian and cross in the middle of a busy roadway, but the responsible and legal thing to do is to yield to pedestrians.
And always yield to bicycles. Okay, this is not a legal requirement – but it sure is good advice. In Texas, bikes are the same as vehicles. This seems strange because a car is akin to a 2-ton guided missile, and a bicycle is not. But this means bicycles may use the same vehicular traffic lanes as motor vehicles. And drivers must yield the right of way to a bike as if it was another vehicle. However, the potential for an injury to a driver when hitting a cyclist is low, but the danger to the bicyclist is off the charts. And the injuries sustained by cyclists are far more likely to be catastrophic. So it is always a good idea to yield to them – as a courtesy and a smart move that may protect you financially.
And I include a bonus number 6. For no other reason than it is my experience driving in Houston over the last 20+ years that for Houston drivers, this will come as an utterly shocking development in the law (note the sarcasm):
Yield to Vehicles EXITING the Freeway
PERIOD. EXCLAMATION POINT and whatever other punctuation I can use to stress it. When you find yourself on the access or frontage road of a highway, and vehicles are exiting the highway. Yield to them. Always. They have the right-of-way by law. If you fail to yield to them and there is a collision – it will be your fault. Drivers exiting the highway are going at a higher rate of speed and generally have shorter distances to change lanes, especially if they are making a turn. Don’t honk your horn at them or road rage when they change lanes in front of you and make you brake. It is your legal duty to brake for them.
We hope you will not ever need the services of a Houston personal injury lawyer. But accidents happen. And when those accidents happen because of the negligence of others, we will be here for you—Houston Injury attorney.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our firm focuses all our time and expertise on representing those who have suffered a personal injury and helping our clients through the entire recovery process – physical, emotional, and financial recovery – from their injuries. We allow our clients to tip the balance of justice in their favor through our years of experience and our devotion to our clients. Our care and preparation are core principles and keys to our success. The lawyers at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, can help you navigate this issue and answer any questions that you may have. If you would like to speak to someone about your particular situation or for a free and confidential consultation, call our office at (713) 366-HURT (4878) today or visit us online at www.houinjurylawyers.com. Houston Injury attorney.