It’s time to make a change
We can change our mind, change our looks and even change jobs, but what seems to be a problem with many people is learning how to change lanes. What seems to be a simple driving action seems to be giving many drivers grief of many years. How confident are you with changing lanes?
One of the basic skills drivers learn early in their driving life is a lane change, however even though drivers will do many of these each day they drive, why is it they have a difficult time understanding how to do them? I’ve witnessed drivers trying to change lanes at the wrong time, which creates a risky situation for themselves and other drivers near them.
The first mistake I see are drivers who try to squeeze into a space that’s too small. Part of the skill about changing lanes is learning how to use your mirrors. Once you feel you need to change lanes make quick glances in your rear view mirror to look for an opening. To know if there is an opening, you’ll need to see both headlights of the driver in the next lane in your rear view mirror. As long as that driver isn’t speeding up, you’ll be okay to switch lanes. Once you see both headlights, have a quick glance in your side mirror/blind spot and before changing lanes to ensure there’s no one next to you, look ahead again to ensure the driver in front isn’t slowing down while you’re changing lanes.
I recently spoke to a driver who had difficulty changing lanes. They had been involved with a few close calls and one collision while changing lanes. It turns out they were staring in their side mirror while changing lanes. This caused them to miss the driver ahead of them braking while they were moving over. Once they spotted the driver ahead braking, it was too late and they rear ended them
One thing I’ve taught my students at Young Drivers of Canada is if they need to change lanes but there isn’t a gap in traffic yet is to signal your intentions and keep monitoring the mirror. The signal can quite often let drivers know what you want to do and they may even adjust their speed to let you in. Without a signal, no one knows your plans.
For the driver who is in the lane that someone else wants to enter; let them enter it. It’s time to stop being the road hog, the road bully and the child. Think it through for a second. If someone wants to come into the lane you’re in and there’s room, let them in. Speeding up doesn’t make sense. It puts the front corner of your vehicle in the space they want and you’re risking damage to your possession. Sure, according to the highway traffic act the driver changing lanes would most likely be charged, but now your vehicle is damaged because you wanted to block them from entering the same lane as you. Shame on you.
Lane changes in traffic require team work for everyone involved. Once you see someone who needs to move over, let them. I’m sure you would want someone to let you into the lane as well if the situation was reversed. If you haven’t done this previously, maybe it’s time to make a change.