On September 5th, a Hamilton man died as a result of a car accident that occurred on Highway 8 between Hamilton and Cambridge. The accident happened when the 36-year-old Hamilton driver lost control of his car while trying to move back into his lane after pulling out to pass other vehicles. During the process of pulling back, witnesses reported that the car spun out and was then side-swiped on the passenger side by an oncoming vehicle. The Hamilton man was subsequently thrown from his car and tragically, he died at the scene of the accident. The driver of the other vehicle was transported to a Hamilton hospital and suffered mild to moderate injuries.
Passing is an inherent aspect of normal driving practices for most drivers; nevertheless, it’s clear that the process of passing other vehicles often presents a greater collision risk. Passing accidents may result from several reasons, including when drivers fail to properly monitor for traffic around them; drivers pass with insufficient distance from oncoming traffic; and/or careless driving actions.
When passing on multi-lane roads and highways, other drivers sometimes move into the lane of the passing vehicle without first monitoring for vehicles in that lane. When this circumstance results in a crash and injuries, fault and liability for the accident generally depend on whether one car sideswiped or rear-ended the other during the collision. For example, if another car changes lanes (albeit unexpectedly) in front of your vehicle when you’re attempting to pass, you'll generally be found at fault if you rear-end the vehicle that just changed lanes. On the other hand, if you’re beginning to pass another vehicle and are side-swiped, the other driver is likely to be found at fault for the accident since, at that point, the onus is on the other driver to check for vehicles beside them before switching lanes.
Crashes that occur on rural two-lane roads, such as Highway 8, generally involve a vehicle attempting to pass one or more slower vehicles driving in the same direction. These accidents are particularly dangerous and often involve head-on collisions, roll-overs or other violent events that present a high risk of serious or fatal injuries.
Passing accidents on two-lane roads often result when the passing vehicle had an inadequate sight distance of the opposing lane of traffic. The purpose of no-passing zones is to prevent or discourage unsafe passing; however, accidents also occur in permitted passing zones when drivers don’t properly gage a safe distance to pass. And, whether or not the accident occurred in a permitted passing zone or not, the onus is always on the passing vehicle to ensure they can pass safely.
Drivers need to remember that the minimum amount of passing distance corresponds with driving speed. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drivers require twice as much distance to pass safely when travelling 60 mi/hr (roughly 100 kms/hr) as they need in 30 mi/hr (or 50 kms/hr) zones. The minimum passing sight distance is 1000 feet (roughly 305 meters) when driving 100 km/hr, compared to 500 feet at half that speed.
Not unlike other types of collisions, passing accidents sometimes result from reckless driving actions. On May 3rd, a good Samaritan’s videocam captured the driver of a black car swerving around and in front of another vehicle travelling on Highway 410. Just as the black car was completing the pass, it bumped the front bumper of the car being passed causing the latter vehicle to spin out, hit the medium and turn completely around. The black car fled the scene, but it was believed that the driver could not fail to have realized they caused the accident, particularly since they braked briefly when they bumped the other vehicle.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident, seek knowledgeable advice and representation from an experienced Oakville car accident lawyer at Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan, and let us help you get owed compensation for your injuries and losses.