As we approach the holiday season, with the hustle and bustle, it is a good time to take a moment and remember some rules of the road for drivers during this season. As the adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
We, at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC. are committed to helping those who have been injured by the negligence of others – RECOVER. Recover physically, emotionally, and financially. But we also believe that it is our duty to 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 is 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 4 accidents is caused by a distracted driver. Texting and driving may not only result in a ticket, but if you injure someone as a result – you could face up to a year in prison. Don’t do it!
- Maintain your Lane. Not only does frequent lane changing often slow down others and actually increase traffic congestion, but it also exponentially increases the risk of a 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, but also says that one may not move from the lane 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 are able to 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 lane to my left, while someone is moving to the same lane to his right and a collision occurs? Most Texas drivers don’t realize that the Texas Transportation Code is very clear that a driver must yield to traffic on his/her left when entering a lane from the right. Therefore, the driver who was moving into the lane from the left lane would have the right-of-way. This is because the left lane is for passing and they are generally trying to vacate the left lane as they are no longer passing. (Yes, Texas Drivers – the left lane is for passing – not driving fast!)
- 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 your regular driving is never okay. If that driver must slow down or brake and you run into them, then that driver may be injured 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.
- To merge or not to merge – that is the question! Merging seems to be one of those things like a toilet flushing. We’re not really sure how it works exactly, but we all know we’re supposed to do it. Again, Texas law makes it clear that when merging, a driver must yield to traffic on their left. However, if the lane on the left ends and merges into your lane, which continues, who yields to who? Well, it’s quite simple. Legally, the vehicle doing the merging must yield to vehicles already driving in the lane. So if you are in the left lane and you have to merge into the right lane, you must yield to the vehicles to your right.
- Always Yield to Bicycles. Okay, this is not a legal requirement – but it sure is a good piece of advice to follow. In Texas, bicycles are considered vehicles. Which seems strange because a car is akin to a 2-ton guided missile and a bicycle, well, is not. But what this means is that bicycles are allowed to use the same vehicular traffic lanes as vehicles are. 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 a cyclist are far more likely to be catastrophic. So it is always a good idea to yield to them – as a courtesy, and as a smart move that may protect you financially.
And I am including 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 a completely 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 exiting at a higher rate of speed and generally have shorter distances with which 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.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our firm focuses the entirety 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 help our clients to tip the balance of justice into 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.