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What Situations Lead to a Sideswipe Collision?

When you think of a car accident, a T-Bone or head-on collision is usually what comes to mind first. However, the sideswipe crash is just as relevant and deserves as much attention.

As the name suggests, a sideswipe collision involves two cars that impact one another’s side. If you have two people traveling in the same direction on a multi-lane road, then a sideswipe might happen where a driver in the left lane veers into another car in the lane to their right.

There are several causes for a sideswipe crash, so it’s important to know what they are so you can understand how to prevent one from happening to you. Like most other accidents, distracted drivers can cause a sideswipe collision.

Beyond distraction, a few specific situations tend to lead to a sideswipe crash. We’ll take a look at them below so that you know when extra caution is required.

Lane Departure

One of the most common causes of a sideswipe collision is lane departure.

You’ve likely heard of a lane departure warning, which is a safety feature used to alert you if you’re drifting into another lane. With this in mind, lane departure is what happens when you begin entering a new lane.

Something you’re likely aware of is how narrow lanes can be. Even with your best effort, you might struggle to perfectly stay within the lines of your lane.

Nonetheless, entering another lane is a quick recipe for a sideswipe collision. You’re entering the space of another vehicle, which makes impact likely. If the other driver doesn’t react, then you’ll cause an accident.

Understanding this, any vehicle with lane departure warnings will help you stay within your lane. If you don’t have this feature, then make sure you’re always paying attention to where your car is going!

Simultaneous Merging

Another situation that leads to a sideswipe collision is simultaneous merging.

Merging is not a simple task because it requires accurate judgment and proper execution. You’ll need to reach the speed of other cars while looking for a safe opportunity to change lanes.

Things get complicated when multiple drivers are trying to merge into the same lane. You might be so focused on checking that the lane you want to enter is clear that you don’t notice another driver merging at the same time.

Picture merging onto a freeway with three lanes. You’re entering from the right lane and want to enter the center lane.

There’s also a vehicle in the left lane that wants to be in the center lane. In this situation, a sideswipe collision can occur in the center lane.

When you’re merging, be vigilant of traffic in adjacent lanes and try to refrain from merging when other cars are nearby just to be safe!

Ignoring Blind Spots

Neglecting to check your blind spots will also cause a sideswipe collision.

Checking your blind spots is an essential aspect of driving because it’s the only guaranteed way to see when it’s safe to change lanes. You might rely on blind spot warnings, but there’s always the possibility of malfunction.

Additionally, using your side mirrors is not effective because they don’t cover your blind spots. The only way you can safely check is by physically turning your head and looking.

If you don’t do this, then you might not notice a car in the lane next to you. As a result, you’ll change lanes and sideswipe the vehicle in your blind spot.

Make a point of always physically looking in your blind spot to help you avoid causing an accident!

Slippery Roads

A final common cause for a sideswipe crash is a slippery road.

Poor weather almost always increases the likelihood of an accident and a sideswipe collision is no different. If you struggle to drive within the lines in good weather, how will you fare during heavy rain?

Not only is your vision obscured, but your vehicle will not handle well. If you hit a puddle too quickly, it can cause you to hydroplane and drift into the lane next to you.

What this means is that lane departure becomes more prevalent during wet weather. To prevent this from affecting you, make sure to always drive slower during bad weather!

Closing Thoughts

While a sideswipe collision isn’t often as serious as something like a head-on collision, the result can still be devastating. Because of this, you should know what circumstances are likely to cause one.

A few of these include lane departure, simultaneous merging, ignoring blind spots, and wet weather. Anytime you deal with any of these situations, make sure to proceed with caution to avoid an accident!

Always be watching the road and where your vehicle is heading. Physically turn your head to check your blind spot and slow down during wet weather. Don’t neglect the possibility of another car trying to merge into a lane at the same time as you.

You can’t always prevent an accident, but you give yourself the best odds of safety by being especially cautious!