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Old 02-24-2020, 07:52 AM
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Rear-end auto collision - Is the 2nd driver always at fault?


In a rear-end collision, are there instances where the fault does not lie with the person who hit the rear of the first car? I was taught that it was the 2nd driver’s fault, without exception, in a rear-end collision.

Steve Lehto is a Michigan attorney who publishes weekly items on YouTube under the title of “Lehto’s Law”. In one of his videos subtitled “Brake Check”, he implied that the front driver is sometimes at fault. Steve contends that if one is being tailgated, and if a dog jumps in front of one’s car, one should hit the dog rather than jam on one’s brakes. HUH? Why should I suffer damage when the tailgater should not have been following so closely in the first place. I drop collision and comprehensive coverage after four years. Yes, my damages may be only $400 if I hit the dog, but the tailgater will be liable for all $1500 damage to my car if he hits me, yes???

Even if the dog is a small Chihuahua, the act of a dog jumping in front of a moving car is startling. Hitting the brakes may be a reflexive reaction. Does a driver have enough time to check his rear-view mirror to see if someone is tailgating before applying his brakes?

Getting back to my first sentence, are there instances where a court has held that the second driver was not at fault. I would assuming that the second driver has the burden to prove that the first driver intentionally caused the collision.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:54 AM
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It's just assumed the second driver was following too closely or not paying attention. If the first driver suddenly slams on their brakes, no matter what the reason, it's still the responsibility of the driver behind to NOT run into them.

Last edited by DCnDC; 02-24-2020 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:00 AM
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Rear-end auto collision - Is the 2nd driver always at fault?

No.
I was once fit by the car in front of me, who backed up when stuck in traffic.
The cop cited both of us, but the judge said that I was 0% at fault.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:03 AM
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Checking your rear-view before you push the brakes should also be a reflexive action. At least, it was drilled into me.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:24 AM
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Fifty states and fifty sets of laws notwithstanding, it seems that "the driver in the rear is at fault" is the starting point, and the officer and insurance companies go from there based on the facts of the specific accident.

I watch way too many of those dashcam video compilations, and it's pretty clear that there are many ways that the front driver can bear some liability. This would, of course, include blatant brake checks--usually those individuals have already done several dangerous moves on camera, such as weaving back and forth to block the rear driver from passing, so their claim of "a squirrel ran in front of me" isn't very compelling. The commentary (grain of salt) usually indicates that they were at fault.

Other examples include drivers making a sudden lane change while braking: a car cuts in front of you while slamming on their brakes. Those seem to get blamed on the driver in front.
Still other examples include mechanical issues: a pickup with a driveshaft that suddenly dropped down and dug into the highway, causing the truck to instantly come to a halt in a way brakes wouldn't do.
Yet other examples involve DUI on the part of the front driver.
And yes, there are countless videos online of people being backed into--in some cases the front driver allegedly claimed they were rear ended, until the video is shown to the officer and insurance company.

If I were driving more than the tiny number of miles I drive per year, I would absolutely have a top notch dashcam in my car.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:36 AM
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If I were driving more than the tiny number of miles I drive per year, I would absolutely have a top notch dashcam in my car.
This. Front and rear cams. Dash cam prices continue to decline, and features/quality continue to improve. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars. At present, you can get a dash cam for $40 that interfaces wirelessly with your phone so you can download/view video footage (or show it to the cops) moments after it's recorded. So for $80, you can have one camera covering the front view and another covering the rear view. If you get rear-ended, you'll be able to show that you were braking for legitimate reasons, and that the jackass behind you was following dangerously close. If you rear-end someone, you'll be able to show that they were driving like a jackass right before they deliberately brake-checked you.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:53 AM
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I was the middle car in a three-way rear end accident. The car behind me pushed me into the rear of the car in front of me. Can't remember who was found at fault.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:55 AM
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Checking your rear-view before you push the brakes should also be a reflexive action. At least, it was drilled into me.
As for that, it seems to me that would delay the response time and make it less likely you can avoid a rear end collision.
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Old 02-24-2020, 09:14 AM
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As for that, it seems to me that would delay the response time and make it less likely you can avoid a rear end collision.
Yes - but you are supposed to be aware already.

The driver is responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle. That's, as mentioned, the default starting point.
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn
I was the middle car in a three-way rear end accident. The car behind me pushed me into the rear of the car in front of me. Can't remember who was found at fault.
I was told in that situation that you are responsible to the person in front of you, and the person who hit you is responsible to you. The person in front would probably be advised to sue both of you, and let the courts sort it out.

IANAL.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:07 AM
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Steve Lehto is a Michigan attorney who publishes weekly items on YouTube under the title of “Lehto’s Law”. In one of his videos subtitled “Brake Check”, he implied that the front driver is sometimes at fault. Steve contends that if one is being tailgated, and if a dog jumps in front of one’s car, one should hit the dog rather than jam on one’s brakes.

A dog ran in front of my car and it hit it. Bent the front bumper and cracked the grill. This was a 69 Dodge Coronet, not a new car with plastic bumpers. I stopped, the dog owner is distraught and calls the police. He says it's my fault and he is going to sue for damages. The officer arrives, assesses the situation. The guy tells the cop he is going to sue for damages. The cop tells him I can sue for the damages to my car. The guy starts ranting till the officer threatens to give him a ticket for violating the city's leash law. I leave and never hear about this again.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:09 AM
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The answer is: NO. Who is "at fault", specifically as it concerns traffic accidents, is determined by the preponderance of evidence.

Most (all?) states will have a statute defining careless driving. Running into stuff is generally considered carelessness as defined by statute. They may also have a jury instruction describing "a rebuttable presumption of negligence" on the rear driver. That just means, when liability is being examined, the balance is set against the rear driver. However, the presumption is rebuttable. If the rear driver has a good excuse for why he put the front of his car on the rear of the car ahead it can turn the tables.

What all that means is, "You ran into something, if you don't have a good excuse then it's going to be your fault." If you stop for a dog and someone hits you in the back end, it's their fault all day long. You are not required to kill an animal/child/car backing out of a driveway; the guy behind you is required to allow himself sufficient stopping distance to avoid striking you in the event you have to make an emergency stop. There are a million "what ifs" that suggest the blame rests with the front car, but in general it's on the car that ran into (not pushed, failed to stop in time) the car ahead of them.

Back to hitting the animal. If you're moving at a decent speed, you can lose control of your car by braking hard and/or swerving. That loss of control can end up getting you or someone else killed, especially if we're talking about creatures of nature crossing rural mountain roads. Those fuzzies? You smack those fuzzies if the alternative is panic braking/swerving. It's not a safe thing to do, but it's less unsafe than rolling down a mountain or interfering with oncoming traffic.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:16 AM
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I was told in that situation that you are responsible to the person in front of you, and the person who hit you is responsible to you. The person in front would probably be advised to sue both of you, and let the courts sort it out.
Right, which is why I'm braking first, looking in the rear-view mirror second if the car in front of me brakes suddenly. MrDibble seemed to think I should first look in the rear-view mirror for some reason.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:52 AM
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I was the middle car in a three-way rear end accident. The car behind me pushed me into the rear of the car in front of me. Can't remember who was found at fault.
I was the front car in one of these.

I was stopped at a red light, so in this case, not at fault at all. Fortunately nobody disputed the incident report written by the sheriff's office and my insurance didn't end up getting involved.

The insurance people for the other cars asked one relevant question, which was "Did you feel 1 collision or 2 collisions?" Apparently, if 1, it would be entirely or predominantly the responsibility of the rear most car. If I felt 2, there was a greater chance the middle car would bear some of the responsibility.

That said, watching from the rear view mirror, it did appear both cars were following a tad too closely and driving a tad too fast for the conditions (evening and just after a light rain). But at least the middle car was able to stop just in time, so maybe that's what matters, at least to the insurance companies.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:54 AM
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There are only two exceptions I can think of. You were pushed into the car in front by the guy who was tailgating you or the guy who braked did not have working break lights. And both might be hard to prove.
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:16 AM
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There are only two exceptions I can think of. You were pushed into the car in front by the guy who was tailgating you or the guy who braked did not have working break lights. And both might be hard to prove.
"Non functioning brake lights" is very far from being a slam dunk. When that allegation comes out the first series of questions is, "How do you know the brake lights weren't functioning?" and "If you knew the brake lights weren't functioning, why didn't you increase your following distance and increase your vigilance?"

I did see one case where the lead car was found to be at fault. An ancient woman was driving 30mph on the freeway at night, sometimes in this lane, sometimes in that lane. She zigged in front of another car, who was driving the speed limit, and he had very little opportunity to avoid smashing into her. Old lady was at fault because she was behaving unpredictably and randomly. A car with no brake lights is clearly unsafe, but if you've been behind it long enough to draw the conclusion the lights aren't working, then it becomes a very predictable hazard and the onus to avoid smacking it falls back to you.

And yes, if you were pushed into the car ahead of you then you're pretty much off the hook.

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Old 02-24-2020, 11:22 AM
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The answer is: NO. Who is "at fault", specifically as it concerns traffic accidents, is determined by the preponderance of evidence.

Most (all?) states will have a statute defining careless driving. Running into stuff is generally considered carelessness as defined by statute. They may also have a jury instruction describing "a rebuttable presumption of negligence" on the rear driver. That just means, when liability is being examined, the balance is set against the rear driver. However, the presumption is rebuttable. If the rear driver has a good excuse for why he put the front of his car on the rear of the car ahead it can turn the tables.

What all that means is, "You ran into something, if you don't have a good excuse then it's going to be your fault." If you stop for a dog and someone hits you in the back end, it's their fault all day long. You are not required to kill an animal/child/car backing out of a driveway; the guy behind you is required to allow himself sufficient stopping distance to avoid striking you in the event you have to make an emergency stop. There are a million "what ifs" that suggest the blame rests with the front car, but in general it's on the car that ran into (not pushed, failed to stop in time) the car ahead of them.

Back to hitting the animal. If you're moving at a decent speed, you can lose control of your car by braking hard and/or swerving. That loss of control can end up getting you or someone else killed, especially if we're talking about creatures of nature crossing rural mountain roads. Those fuzzies? You smack those fuzzies if the alternative is panic braking/swerving. It's not a safe thing to do, but it's less unsafe than rolling down a mountain or interfering with oncoming traffic.

The above is correct and I believe he works or worked for an insurance company.

With no other factors than one car ran into the back of another then most likely the rear vehicle is at fault. You are expected to leave enough room to allow for emergency braking.

If there is evidence of other circumstances the front driver could easily be found at fault.

The insurance company can reach a different conclusion than the police.
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:28 AM
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I believe he works or worked for an insurance company.
17 years as an insurance adjuster, coming up on 2 years as a case analyst with a plaintiff firm (Yes, it's The Dark Side, but they had cookies).
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:43 AM
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"]\"How do you know the brake lights weren't functioning?"
I didn't see them when the car ahead of me came to a sudden stop.

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and "If you knew the brake lights weren't functioning, why didn't you increase your following distance and increase your vigilance?"
I didn't know until the car ahead of me came to a sudden stop.

I would think the above is pretty common for highway traffic where there may be no reason to stop except for traffic. I have absolutely no idea whose brake lights are or are not working unless I have a stop situation where I can figure that out. And if it's a singular, sudden stop situation like an animal running out into the road out of the blue, I'm not going to have any other opportunities to gauge whether the car in front of me has working brake lights or not.

Now how do you prove that if you've smashed the brake lights of the car in front of you? That one I've got nothing for. I assume, even if true, the insurance companies are going to judge in favor of the car ahead of me. Luckily, I tend to leave enough distance that whether I see brake lights or not shouldn't matter too much to my outcome.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:03 PM
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Right, which is why I'm braking first, looking in the rear-view mirror second if the car in front of me brakes suddenly. MrDibble seemed to think I should first look in the rear-view mirror for some reason.
I'm trained to look at the mirror before my feet even move. It's reflex, there's no thought involved. And it's just a glance.

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Old 02-24-2020, 12:11 PM
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OK, so you look in the rear-view mirror when the car in front of you brakes. You see a car behind you. How does that affect your decision to brake or not to brake?
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:18 PM
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What if both cars are stopped at a stop light and then the car in front goes into reverse (while light is still red) Seems that can't be the rear driver's fault.

Brian
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:21 PM
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Rear-end auto collision - Is the 2nd driver always at fault?

No.
I was once fit by the car in front of me, who backed up when stuck in traffic.
The cop cited both of us, but the judge said that I was 0% at fault.
That almost happened to me, except I was able to narrowly avoid the maniac who decided to back up without looking.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:24 PM
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Now how do you prove that if you've smashed the brake lights of the car in front of you? That one I've got nothing for.
That's sort of the wrinkle with presumption of negligence. If you can't prove your case, you're hosed pretty much by definition.

Sometimes it makes sense to involve a forensic examination of the front car's taillights to develop an expert opinion on the matter. There is some pretty clever stuff they can do with the light bulb filaments (so it won't work with LEDs) to support an assertion regarding whether or not the bulb was dead prior to the crash. It's expensive and not always convincing, so it's rarely done. It's much easier to just test the system and determine whether or not the wiring is functioning properly. If it is, and only one or none of the bulbs are out, then it's really hard to explain how none of at least three separate light clusters lit up when the brake pedal was mashed.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:36 PM
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It's expensive and not always convincing, so it's rarely done.
Yeah, I was just going to ask if it's even worth the trouble for most claims (unless a death or horrific injury were involved). I would think the cost and time coupled with the probability the claimant is telling the truth and the car ahead's brake lights really were out just outweighs settling the claim quickly and moving on to the next one.
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Old 02-24-2020, 03:14 PM
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While the brake lights are helpful, they're not the only thing I use to judge my distance from the car ahead of me. And if that distance is suddenly narrowing, then I'd better be braking even if I don't see their brake lights.

I can see the brake lights making the difference in a borderline case.

If the animal suddenly in the road is a deer or larger, my hitting it may also cause me to lose control and may cause me to go off the road. And if it's a cat or a dog, sorry, but I'm braking. I've had to do that quite a few times, for creatures of various sizes, and I've never lost control of the car or gone off the road because I braked. Icy/snowy conditions might be an issue; but both I and whoever's behind me ought to be going slower in such conditions in any case. I'd still brake, but more cautiously.

Most cars now have ABS, which should reduce the chances of losing control while braking.
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Old 02-24-2020, 03:32 PM
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There are only two exceptions I can think of. You were pushed into the car in front by the guy who was tailgating you or the guy who braked did not have working break lights.
#3 the car in front was reversing.
Changes the burden of proof as to fault profoundly.
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Old 02-24-2020, 04:03 PM
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Regarding the "what happens if the car in front of me reverses into my front end?" question, I vaguely remember a detective story or maybe a cop show where this was proven by something about the reverse lights on the car in front showing some evidence of being illuminated at the time of the accident.
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Old 02-24-2020, 04:24 PM
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Regarding the "what happens if the car in front of me reverses into my front end?" question, I vaguely remember a detective story or maybe a cop show where this was proven by something about the reverse lights on the car in front showing some evidence of being illuminated at the time of the accident.
If a light bulb is illuminated, … uh, science and shit.
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Old 02-24-2020, 04:42 PM
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The only time I've ever seen it advised to hit an animal instead of breaking is when a deer runs out in front of you. I've always heard it's better to hit the deer than to serve and possibly lose control of your car (ESPECIALLY if it's winter). I suppose it's always a better option to only involve one car in an accident, rather than two or more. That said, most anyone is going to instinctually try to avoid hitting an animal that's obviously a pet. Less so something like a deer.
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:20 PM
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I slid into the back of a car when the guy slammed on his brakes. This was a long line of traffic during rush hour, going 40, and he did so unexpectedly, in the middle of an intersection.

I got the ticket (and car was totaled)... yes, I didn't leave enough room, but then no one else on the main drag was either.
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Old 02-24-2020, 06:01 PM
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The only time I've ever seen it advised to hit an animal instead of breaking is when a deer runs out in front of you. I've always heard it's better to hit the deer than to serve and possibly lose control of your car
If you hit a deer at speed, there's a significant chance you'll lose control of the car; and some chance you're going to wind up with the deer through the windshield and on top of you, possibly still kicking. And/or the airbag may go off, which may also cause you to lose control.

I've seen advice not to try swerving, which makes sense, partly because swerving may take you into oncoming traffic or off the road where there may be a steep bank or other hazards, and also because the deer may also be swerving and in addition to your possibly losing control it's not easy to tell which way to swerve. But braking is another matter. And if your car's in any sort of decent shape and you're not on ice you should be able to brake quite hard without losing control.

About deer -- if you see one deer, or other creature, cross the road safely ahead of you, SLOW DOWN and look hard. There is often more than one dog. There is sometimes more than one child. There is occasionally more than one cat. There is always more than one deer. If you only see one, that means the others are already across -- or just about to cross.


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I got the ticket (and car was totaled)... yes, I didn't leave enough room, but then no one else on the main drag was either.
I hate traffic like that. I don't mind fast traffic in which I can keep wide spacing, and I don't mind slow traffic bunched up. But I hate traffic moving fast enough to cause major accidents but in which it's not possible to keep spacing. I rarely have to drive in it; but a whole lot of people have to drive in it every day.
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Old 02-24-2020, 06:17 PM
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Our road code specifically states that running over small animals is preferable to coming to an "emergency stop" in traffic. Most common site for this is families of ducks crossing the road. You are only supposed to do this if you can stop safely - and the onus is on you.

My father rear ended another car which inexplicably stopped in the middle of an intersection, right in front of the "cop shop" - she was cited not him.

One defensive driving technique I was taught - if asked "what colour is the car behind" you should be able to answer without looking. If I recall correctly you should be checking your rear view every 3-5 seconds, if you're doing this, you will have a pretty fair idea of what's happening behind at any given moment if you need to emergency brake.
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Old 02-24-2020, 06:59 PM
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One defensive driving technique I was taught - if asked "what colour is the car behind" you should be able to answer without looking. If I recall correctly you should be checking your rear view every 3-5 seconds, if you're doing this, you will have a pretty fair idea of what's happening behind at any given moment if you need to emergency brake.
Bingo. At least in the day, you should be paying enough attention that you know about the car behind you.

I drive a two lane mountain highway over the continental divide every day. Six months of the year it's snow and ice. Been doing it for 28 years.

I'll pull over for the morons that want to tailgate. "Have at it. You want to go faster in these conditions? Go for it" I drive the speed limit, or a bit less in bad conditions. I run Blizack snow tires on a 4Runner.

And I sure as shit don't want to hit a dear or moose (yes we have moose). I'll ditch my car before hitting a moose.

Since I run good snow tires, I have to be careful of those that don't if I happen on a yellow stop light. In Snow/ice, I may push it and go through if someone is too close behind me. Assuming they are in a car with "All seasons".
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Old 02-24-2020, 09:37 PM
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...the guy behind you is required to allow himself sufficient stopping distance to avoid striking you in the event you have to make an emergency stop.
Yes, this is the default assumption, unusual events notwithstanding.* Many if not most drivers habitually fail to maintain a safe distance.

*like the idjit who backed up into me at a red light while preparing to switch lanes so he could make a turn, apparently deciding that my blasts on the horn were a form of entertainment and not warning.
Fortunately no significant damage was sustained by either party.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:16 PM
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Steve Lehto is a Michigan attorney who publishes weekly items on YouTube under the title of “Lehto’s Law”. In one of his videos subtitled “Brake Check”, he implied that the front driver is sometimes at fault. Steve contends that if one is being tailgated, and if a dog jumps in front of one’s car, one should hit the dog rather than jam on one’s brakes. HUH? Why should I suffer damage when the tailgater should not have been following so closely in the first place.
In 2010, a Canadian woman stopped her car on a highway to enable a group of ducklings to cross the road. The motorcycle following her crashed into the car and the two riders were killed.

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On June 20, 2014, a jury at the Montreal courthouse found Czornobaj guilty of criminal negligence causing both deaths. It was a very unusual case because Czornobaj was convicted of a serious offence despite having no criminal intent attached to her actions.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:25 PM
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Once I rear ended a car. We get out and he tells me he pulled out in front of me because "I was going too fast". He seriously pulled out of a side road about 20 feet in front of me when I was going 40, which was the speed limit.

So I just told him to go fuck himself and drove away, my car had no damage. Never heard anything from police or insurance company. I wonder who they would have found at fault?
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:55 AM
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OK, so you look in the rear-view mirror when the car in front of you brakes. You see a car behind you. How does that affect your decision to brake or not to brake?
It affects how hard I brake, AFAICT.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:02 AM
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Decades ago, a driver pulled out of a shopping center directly in front of me and there was no way of avoiding hitting her. We exchanged info, insurance, etc. When I called her insurance company, they said their customer told them I hit her car in the back. "Yes," I said, "but did she tell you that she was pulling out of a shopping center driveway?" "Oh. That's different." It would have been the same if she'd had a stop sign.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:03 AM
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In the 60's, I was driving a small scooter and collided with the car in front of me. I told the officer that the car had no brake lights. The officer checked and saw the brake lights were not working.

The driver in front said the impact of the scooter knocked out both lights. The officer, noting a 90cc scooter impact, and my skid marks gave the first driver a violation of no brake lights and involved in an accident. I was not faulted.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:26 AM
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The situation in that case is a bit different. This is someone who parked in the left lane of the highway and created a distraction by going to gather up the ducklings. Assuming she just parked without her parking brake being engaged, no rear lights would be seen.

Now, I don't think the verdict is correct -- I still think the traffic should have been paying more attention, but it's a different set of circumstances than suddenly braking for a road hazard and having somebody behind you run into you.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:56 AM
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It affects how hard I brake, AFAICT.
Yes, and whether or not braking is the sole course of action. It may be preferable to break gently and steer into a different lane, for example.

Like you, I also instinctively look into the rearview mirror before assessing a course of action. It seems prudent. It drives my wife insane, because she doesn't have a mirror and doesn't always understand why I'm not, you know, hauling down on the brakes as hard as I can. But you absolutely want the most situational awareness before doing anything drastic behind the wheel, and knowing what's coming up behind you is a situation you certainly want to be aware of.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:01 AM
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That's crap if true in your state. Here in Maryland, my wife was stopped behind someone at a red light. The cars were separated by the standard required distance (something like be able to read the car in front's license plate and see their bumper). Driver behind her not paying attention (on cell phone) plowed into my wife's car pushing her into the first car. My wife was not held responsible in any way. In fact the "rammer" was held in total fault.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:20 AM
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Once I rear ended a car. We get out and he tells me he pulled out in front of me because "I was going too fast". He seriously pulled out of a side road about 20 feet in front of me when I was going 40, which was the speed limit.

So I just told him to go fuck himself and drove away, my car had no damage. Never heard anything from police or insurance company. I wonder who they would have found at fault?
I suspect it would have been the other driver, for what around here is called "failure to yield right of way". You're not entitled to pull out from a side road or parking area unless the road you're pulling into is clear, any more than you're entitled to ignore a yield sign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
The situation in that case is a bit different. This is someone who parked in the left lane of the highway and created a distraction by going to gather up the ducklings. Assuming she just parked without her parking brake being engaged, no rear lights would be seen.
If she'd had the sense to at least hit the hazard lights, those would have been visible. I can't tell from the article whether she'd done that.

But yeah, parking in the highway lane is not a bright idea. If you've got time to get out of the car, you've got time to pull off the road. And seriously, she expected wild ducklings to just let her pick them up rather than trying to avoid her?
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:29 AM
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And seriously, she expected wild ducklings to just let her pick them up rather than trying to avoid her?
People who have little experience with wild animals have little idea how wild animals feel about being around humans. Just a few days ago near Los Angeles a bear wandered through the suburbs; video here, watch at 0:24 as people casually stand within killing distance to get good video. And every year a handful of people get launched into orbit after irritating the bison at Yellowstone.
  #45  
Old 02-25-2020, 11:30 AM
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OK, so you look in the rear-view mirror when the car in front of you brakes. You see a car behind you. How does that affect your decision to brake or not to brake?
I was in exactly that situation years ago on a two-lane highway. As part of general situational awareness I knew that the car behind me was too close for the speed we were doing. When the car in front braked very suddenly for some reason I now forget -- an animal on the road or something -- my reflexive reaction was to brake AND swerve off onto the shoulder. The car behind me just barely avoided rear-ending the first car despite all the extra room it now had. I would have been rear-ended for sure.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:41 AM
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I was in exactly that situation years ago on a two-lane highway. As part of general situational awareness I knew that the car behind me was too close for the speed we were doing. When the car in front braked very suddenly for some reason I now forget -- an animal on the road or something -- my reflexive reaction was to brake AND swerve off onto the shoulder. The car behind me just barely avoided rear-ending the first car despite all the extra room it now had. I would have been rear-ended for sure.
Yes, this has happened to me as well. Brake - glance in rear-view - see there's a car way too close, swerve into shoulder. Worked twice for me, and once, I just didn't have a shoulder or empty lane to swerve into, so I squeezed on my brakes as best I could to not hit the guy in front of me but give the guy behind me as much distance to stop. Unfortunately, he was in a Ford F250, so his stopping distance was not the best. That said, he didn't hit us too hard. Enough for an insurance claim, but nobody was hurt.

I don't think I've ever full-out slammed on my brakes. There's always been a bit of a curve to the brake pressure depending on the circumstances.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-25-2020 at 11:42 AM.
  #47  
Old 02-25-2020, 01:39 PM
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Some years ago I was coming back from the Seattle Boat Show with a friend, using the Mercer Island floating bridge. There was a fair amount of traffic in both eastbound lanes, when the driver in front of me came to a complete stop. I was looking for a break in the traffic in the other lane so I could get around, when the backup lights on the stopped car came on, and the car suddenly, with increasing speed, came back at me. Now I can guarantee that this is a situation without a solution for the targeted car and driver, and all you can do is watch events unfold with wonder and disbelief.

Luckily there was not too much of a space between me and the car ahead, so he was not going too fast when he hit. My passenger had his glasses knocked off, and his door wouldn't open, and my car was shortened by about six inches. After all the dust had settled, and a State patrolman showed up, it turned out that the driver of the car ahead had started to feel faint, and had got the car stopped. His engine was still running, and his wife had tried to get things turned off. Unfortunately for me, she accidentally put the car into reverse with the engine still running. It was probably a good thing that my car was just behind and could serve as a barrier, as who knows what would have happened if there had been more free room for the car to accelerate in.

Anyway, even though mine was the second car, the patrolman rapidly determined that the car in front was the one at fault.

Last edited by Daylate; 02-25-2020 at 01:40 PM.
  #48  
Old 02-26-2020, 12:20 AM
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When I backed the car into the corner of my brick house, it was definitely my own fault, not the house's.
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