Which Driver is Liable for a Merging Accident?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on March 29, 2019  in Car Accident News. Updated on February 24, 2022

Cars mergeMerging onto a highway, parkway or turnpike can be very dangerous. We have all been in situations where other drivers just will not let you in. This often causes road rage, which is particularly dangerous considering the speed of your vehicle and those around you.

If an accident happens, you may be unsure about who was at fault. Maybe the car that hit you was traveling way too fast or made a lane change right when you began to come over from the merging lane.

If you were injured in a merging car accident, contact our car accident lawyers in New Jersey today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Causes of Merging Accidents

Accidents involving merging vehicles can be caused by many things:

  • A merging motorist was entering the highway too fast or too slow
  • A motorist made a lane change without using his or her turn signal
  • A motorist crossed over multiple lanes when merging or changing lanes
  • A motorist cut off other vehicles to merge or make a lane change

Determining Fault

In New Jersey, motorists entering a highway must yield the right-of-way to vehicles already traveling on the highway. When accidents happen while one vehicle was merging, typically the merging driver is found liable.

However, in the following scenarios, the merging driver may not be liable:

  • A merging driver collides with a vehicle that was speeding on the highway. The vehicle’s higher speed would make it harder for the merging driver to determine the amount of time needed to complete a merge. Therefore, the speeding driver may be held liable for the accident.
  • If a merging driver in the inner lane moves to the middle lane, striking another driver moving from the outer lane to the middle lane, the merging driver may not be at fault for the accident.
  • If another driver pulls into the path of a merging driver before he or she attempts to perform a merge, the collision would take place prior to the merging driver entering the highway, and the merging driver may not be held liable for the accident.
  • If a driver already on the highway was distracted, disobeying traffic laws or driving aggressively at the time of the accident, the merging driver may not be at fault for the collision.

Many times, both drivers involved will have some amount of fault because both vehicles were moving.

Avoiding a Merging Accident

To avoid merging accidents, follow these safe-driving tips:

  • When merging, always yield to vehicles that are traveling on the main roadway.
  • Use acceleration lanes to speed up to the flow of traffic before completing a merge.
  • Do not come to a complete stop in an acceleration lane.
  • Merge into the right lane of the highway when merging.
  • Merge gradually, avoiding sudden movements that can catch other motorists off-guard.
  • Do not travel over multiple lanes to merge.
  • Always obey the posted speed limits on the entrance ramp to the highway you are merging onto.
  • Do not unexpectedly change your speed when driving and keep pace with other vehicles while obeying the speed limit to avoid accidents.
  • Always use your rear and side mirrors to check the roadway and spot other vehicles before merging or changing lanes.
  • Always use your turn signal to indicate your intent to merge or change lanes. Give other drivers enough time to see your signal and make adjustments before you begin your move.
  • Do not tailgate vehicles driving in front of you. Leave ample space between your vehicle and those ahead of you to avoid a rear-end collision due to sudden stopping or slowing down.

Contact A Trusted Attorney for Help

If you were injured in a merging car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The New Jersey car accident lawyers of Lynch Law Firm, PC will review your case and help you pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.

Request a free, no obligation consultation with our legal team today. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation on your behalf.

Call (800) 518-0508 for help with your claim today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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