It seems lane change collisions are on the increase and distracted drivers could be to blame.
Latest statistics show collisions in which a vehicle was struck or side-swiped by another moving into a different lane increased from 5.53 per cent of all incidents in 2010 to 7.16 per cent of incidents recorded in 2014.
In real terms, this represents a worrying increase in lane change incidents of almost a third (29.5 per cent) over the last four years.
The increase in lane change errors could be linked to the rise of the smartphone and in-car connectivity. Using a mobile phone at the wheel slows reaction time by around 50 per cent and quadruples the likelihood of having an accident.
It’s obvious to state folks, but lane changes demand your full attention and swift reactions but too many of us are diverting our focus from the road and putting ourselves – and other road users – at risk.
Time spent using a mobile or hastily following instructions from a satnav system can prevent us from making the necessary checks before merging into the next lane.
The statistics have emerged in spite of growth in crash avoidance technology. Toyota, VW, Mercedes, Volvo and Nissan are among the manufacturers to develop features such as autonomous braking and systems which detect drivers who are at risk of wandering into another lane.
Just a final word of caution: drivers who misjudge a space and strike moving traffic when they enter a lane are always considered to be at fault, according to law.