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What to do if a car crosses the centerline

One of the most frightening experiences any driver can have is watching another car cross the centerline in front of them. This can happen for all manner of reasons, from drunk driving to distracted driving to a simple error by a young, inexperienced driver who can’t stay in their lane. It also happens when people think they have room to pass but they do not.

What should you do? Let’s start with what not to do. Don’t drive to the left, into their lane. They are in yours, and possibly angling across the lane toward the shoulder, so your instinct may be to go left to avoid them.

Doing so causes two problems. First, now you are driving in the wrong lane, and you could hit another car in that lane. Second, if the driver realizes their mistake — as they look up from their phone, for instance — they could correct their path. This puts them back into their legal lane, and you are now the wrong-way driver when you hit them.

Instead, try to slow down, swerve to the right and honk your horn. Flash your lights if you have time, especially at night. Try to get their attention so that they see the issue and go back to the left. Try to drive onto the shoulder and even into the ditch if it allows you to avoid the crash.

Naturally, even this may not entirely prevent the accident. A head-on crash is exceedingly dangerous and you could get badly injured. You need to know how to seek financial compensation for your costs.

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