It’s kind of amazing that we have to put a section in here about changing lanes…but time and experience have proven it’s necessary. Seriously: you apparently know enough to get the car out on the road, and probably a large road if it has multiple lanes. But you can’t figure out how to safely navigate from one lane to another lane moving the same direction? Good grief.
Well, okay, here you go…
How To Safely Change Lanes
- First, keep moving forward at a constant speed. Do Not slow down to change lanes.
- Make sure you have room in front of you and behind you (in your current lane) to make a move. If you’re blocked in, then just stay put dummy.
- Make sure there’s room in the lane you want to move to. If there’s no room, don’t fucking change lanes!
- (And this is where the fun starts)… Signal your intention to change lanes! (If you’re not sure why you should signal, or when, please leave this page now, and consult our page on Learning to Use Your Fucking Turn Signal).
- Look in your rear-view mirror, and your side mirror (whichever side you’re moving to) and make sure there’s still room. And not just some room, but enough room for your whole car.
- Look over your shoulder and confirm that room. Sometimes mirrors have blind spots. That’s why we use both the mirror and our eyes, children.
- Start your move over, continuing to look ahead of you, in your mirrors, and occasionally over your shoulder as you move.
- Maintain a constant speed as you do so. The only exception to this would be if traffic in the target lane is going faster or slower than your current lane. In that case you should not change lanes until there’s enough room for you both to get into the lane and to adjust your speed.
- Once in the lane, regulate your speed to the new lane, turn off your turn signal, and drive on like nothing happened. Good work, champ.
Things To Keep In Mind When Changing Lanes
Again – things we can’t believe we have to write, but you keep proving it’s necessary, so…
- Don’t change lanes without looking. Really. It’s a bad idea.
- You must signal for a lane change. Remember? Any time you’re doing to move any direction other than straight, use your fucking turn signal.
- One lane at a time. Just keep it under control tiger. Don’t get greedy.
- If you can’t see the traffic in the lane, or judge their speed. Then stay where you are.
- If you live in a state where lane splitting is legal for motorcycles (and even if you don’t), it’s your responsibility to make sure there’s not a cyclist in-between the lanes.
- Mirrors and over the shoulder check. Trust us on this one – your mirrors don’t show you everything.
And finally (and this is kind of a big one):
- Changing lanes in an intersection is dangerous and illegal. Why? Imagine you’re waiting at an intersection, and perhaps considering a right turn on red. The intersection has multiple lanes going each way. Maybe it even has center left-turn lanes. The cars coming at you (in the direction you want to be going after your turn) are in the lane closest to the center, so you think you have room to turn into the lane closest to the curb. If any of those cars change lanes in the intersection, that space disappears. If you’re already in the intersection, or cannot safely complete your lane change before you enter the intersection, then just wait. The world will not end if you aren’t able to execute your most desired action. It’s all part of learning to get (and stay) the fuck out of the way.
Okay kiddo, you’re on your own. Get our there and change lanes like a banshee. Sadly we know you’re going to take about 1/5th of this to heart.
No, really. We believe in you. That’s just the sound of our breathing, not a deep, soul-wrenching sigh of despair. Honest.