Who has the right of way when merging onto the interstate?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

The interstate is generally a very controlled driving situation that keeps people safe. This is why studies have found that interstates are safer than other roads. The speed limits are much higher, which does increase the risk of severe injury in an accident, but the traffic controls – such as onramps and offramps – keep things moving smoothly so that accidents happen far less often.

One problematic point, however, can be when someone is trying to merge onto the road. The driver in the traffic lane may believe that they have the right of way, but the driver who is merging onto the road may also think so. This can lead to conflicts, such as situations where one person sideswipes the other. So who has the right of way?

Entering traffic must not impede

Drivers who are using the onramp and trying to join the flow of traffic need to find a way to safely fit their vehicle into those travel lanes. The law states that they must do so without impeding the traffic that is already using the travel lanes that they are entering.

That said, the law doesn’t unilaterally give the right of way to either driver. Instead, it says that “each driver entering the defined merging area shall adjust their vehicle’s speed and lateral position to avoid a collision with another vehicle.”

In other words, drivers are supposed to work together. The interstate is very safe because traffic moves in the same direction, but it requires ramps to allow for seamless merging. The driver who is entering can’t just blindly drive into the lane and strike another vehicle, but the drivers who are in those lanes also should not just blindly continue on and block cars from entering. If necessary, vehicles can stop and merge, but it is usually possible to do this by simply adjusting your speed or your position within the lanes.

What if someone else causes an accident?

Merge points are one of the most dangerous places on the interstate, and it’s important for those who are injured in accidents caused by other drivers to know about the legal options they have to seek financial compensation.