Q: Am I at fault if I don’t slow down when someone is passing me in a “No Passing Zone,” and they get hit?
Today was the wrong day to go for a leisurely drive down 13th. Since you weren’t in a hurry, and there wasn’t much traffic, you decided to pace your car at a steady 30 mph to take in the scenery and let the breeze fill your car. However, this speed apparently wasn’t fast enough for the car behind you, who closed the half mile between you in about 10 seconds. As you approached the large curve at Eastern Ave., you maintained your speed but the “race car” behind you wasn’t going to slow down.
You could hear his engine rev as—without warning—he swerved into the oncoming lane in an attempt to pass you. That’s when it happened. A northbound car suddenly appeared around the bend causing the race car to swerve into you. Unfortunately, this was a poor attempt to avoid an accident, as not only did you wind up crashing straight into his front, but the oncoming car collided right into his rear causing all three of us to twist 90 degrees and come to a halt in a mass of crumpled steel.
The kicker? You could hear the race car driver swearing and yelling that it was all your fault.
Determining “Passing” Fault
In 99 percent of all cases, the motorist being passed has the right of way—no matter how slowly they may be going. Exceptions may include if he was driving erratically or dangerously, and safety was a concern, or if he broke down in the middle of the street, forcing you to go around him.
If you’re in a collision, due to a motorist attempting to pass you, you’ll most likely not be at fault. Whether or not he misjudged the oncoming traffic, swerved—or caused the oncoming traffic to swerve—into you, or cut over too closely, the fault lies with him.
Exceptions to the Rule
- If it was determined that you swerved into him whilst he was passing.
- If you intentionally sped up to close the gap whilst he was merging back over.
- If you attempted to pass the car in front of you, whilst the car behind you was already passing.
Areas to Be Specifically Aware of for Reckless Passing
- Unmarked curves.
- When making left-hand turns—especially when signs or lights aren’t present.
- Expressway on-ramps.
- “No Passing” zones.
*A “No Passing” sign is generally posted around curves or hilly areas because the line of sight may be obstructed and the distance between you and oncoming traffic may be hard to determine. Therefore, for your own safety (in addition to following traffic laws), you should never attempt to pass in a “No Passing” zone.
When passing another vehicle, always make sure that it is legal and safe to do so. Make sure you’re not in a “No Passing” zone, that the lane is clear ahead, and that the car you’re passing knows that you’re passing (use a turn signal to indicate intentions). Otherwise, you could not only be seriously injured, but you could also cause and be liable for a traumatic accident.
Contact us today if you’ve recently been injured in a passing accident. We’re here to help you get your life back on track. We offer free consultations to discuss the particulars of your case and help you determine if you’re eligible for injury and damage compensation. Don’t let someone else’s mistake ruin your life. Call now!