As a Cleveland, Ohio car accident lawyer, there are several types of entirely avoidable but common car accidents that I see. My hope is that if you read this and become aware of these types of accidents, you can avoid being involved in any of them in the future.
Avoidable Accident Type 1
The first type of entirely avoidable but common car accident that I see occurs on interstate highways where there are three lanes heading in the same direction: the far right lane, the center lane, and the far left lane. Prior to the accident, there will be a car traveling in the far right lane, a car traveling in the far left lane, and the center lane will be completely empty with no car at all. What happens is, the driver of the car in the far right lane sees that the middle lane is clear and gets the idea that he or she wants to merge left into the center lane. At the same time, the driver of the car in the far left lane sees that the middle lane is clear and gets the idea that he or she wants to merge right into the center lane. All of a sudden, both the car in the far right lane and the car in the far left lane are merging into the middle lane at the same time.
In the best case scenario, one or both of the drivers realize that they are on a collision course and act quickly to correct the problem without any actual impact. In the second-best scenario, the cars will collide, but they will be travelling close enough to parallel with each other that they bump one another and are able to correct the problem without a major crash. In the worst-case scenario, the rear of one car clips the front of the other car resulting in a severe spin-out, often ending with one or both of the cars crashing violently into the guardrail or median.
The take-away from this is that you should not change lanes unless the lane you are merging into and the lane next to it are both empty.
Avoidable Accident Type 2
The second type of entirely avoidable but common car accident that I see occurs at four-way intersections with a stop light. Prior to the accident, “car 1,” desiring to make a left turn, will have a green light, but will be at a stand-still waiting for a break in oncoming traffic. After the light turns yellow, in that split second before it turns red, car 1 will step on the gas and try to whip into the into the intersection to pull off a quick left turn before the light actually turns red. At the same time, “car 2,” approaching the intersection from the complete opposite direction, will also step on the gas in an attempt to fly through the intersection before the light actually turns red.
As car 1 enters the intersection trying to do a quick left turn before the light turns red, and car 2 enters the intersection while also trying to beat the light, the cars end up crashing into each other. This often results in a T-bone accident where car 2 smashes into the passenger side of car 1.
The take away from this is that you should not try to beat red lights, whether you are attempting to go straight through the intersection or make a left turn.
Avoidable Accident Type 3
The third type of entirely avoidable but common car accident that I see is the typical “rear-ender” where someone is not paying attention (often because they are looking at a cell phone), and crash into the car in front of them. Although these are common accidents at red lights and stop signs, some of the most severe and deadly rear end accidents occur on interstate highways where, for whatever reason, the traffic slows or comes to a stop, and the distracted driver plows into the car in front of them at an exceedingly high rate of speed.
The take away from this is that you should always give the road 100% of your attention and refuse to be distracted while driving. It also isn’t a bad idea to remain aware of what is going on in your rear view mirror so that if do see a car barreling down at you, you can at lease attempt some sort of evasive maneuver, or, at the very least, brace yourself for impact.