- 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 adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Accident
We at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC. are committed to helping those 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:
- 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 is caused by a distracted driver. Texting and driving may not only result in a ticket, but if you injure someone, you could face up to a year in prison. Please don’t do it!
Maintain your Lane
- Maintain your Lane. Not only does frequent lane changing often slow down others and increase traffic congestion, but it also 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 practical entirely within a single lane. Still, it also says that one may not move from the road unless that movement can be made safely. Use a turn signal to signal to other drivers you want to change lanes. And 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 when changing lanes. What happens if I move to the road to my left while someone is moving to the same route to his right and a collision occurs? Most Texas drivers don’t realize that the Texas Transportation Code clearly states that they 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. This is because the left lane is for passing, and they generally try to vacate the left lane as they are no longer dying. (Yes, Texas Drivers – the left lane is for giving – not driving fast!)
DO NOT TAILGATE!
- DO NOT TAILGATE! Well, tailgating at a Texans game on Sunday is okay – with a grill. But tailgating your grill on someone’s bumper during regular driving is never okay. If that driver must slow down or brake and you run into them, then that driver may be injured, so 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.
To merge or not to merge – that is the question!
- To merge or not to merge – that is the question! Merging seems to be one of those things like toilet flushing. We’re not sure how it works precisely, but we all know we’re supposed to 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.
Always Yield to Bicycles
- Always Yield to Bicycles. Okay, this is not a legal requirement – but it sure is good advice. In Texas, bicycles are considered vehicles. This seems strange because a car is akin to a 2-ton guided missile, and a bike is not. But this means that bikes can use the same vehicular traffic lanes as vehicles. However, the potential for a driver to be injured 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. Accident.
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. 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.
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