Should you try to avoid a crash by leaving your lane?

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles, P.C.

October 29, 2020

Your instincts may tell you to swerve out of your lane to avoid an accident. For instance, imagine that you’re driving down the highway in Illinois when another car blows out a tire ahead of you. Worried that you’re going to rear-end the now-disabled car as it slows down rapidly, you swerve to the left to avoid the crash.

But what happens when you do that? You increase the odds of a head-on collision. This is why police officers say you should never take this type of evasive action.

What should you do instead? Just hit your brakes and try to reduce your speed as much as possible before the crash. Hitting a car in your lane at 30 miles per hour is vastly better for everyone involved than swerving and hitting an oncoming car at 60 miles per hour. Plus, head-on crashes are some of the most dangerous accidents on the road, so simply getting into another type of crash — while not ideal, police admit — is a better option.

If you do swerve, you always want to go to the right, leaving the roadway. You may have space to drive on the shoulder or even put your car in the ditch. This isn’t always better than the initial crash, depending on the circumstances, but it is better than swerving to the left and risking a head-on crash.

Unfortunately, people often react instinctively, not rationally, and cause these serious accidents. If you get injured in such a crash, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.