A question about highway driving

I believe the logic with no-fault is that a person who consistently has claims that “weren’t my fault!” is probably either very unlucky or has bad driving habits that invite accidents (like driving in blind spots).

IIRC if A drifts into B’s lane, and B has the dashcam footage to prove it (that A in fact crossed the line) then A might be liable. But generally, B would be liable for driving into C. So often, additional witnesses help. “I swerved because the car crossed in front of me running a red light, and then he didn’t stop”. If witnesses bear this out, then there may be no criminal liability, but if you can’t prove who was the car that caused the accident, odds are your the insurance pays. If they can find the culprit, then your insurance goes after their insurance, and the police may cite them for the traffic offence.

If B brakes and gets rear-ended, then D who rear-ended him is at fault for following too close. however, if dashcam footage shows a deliberate attempt by C to get rear-ended (B slams on his brakes for no reason, or switches lanes in front of D and jams on the brakes) then C is driving dangerously. The car hitting the rear of another is assumed to be at fault, they must be defensive about legitimate reasons for the car in front to stop (i.e. animal or child runs out into the road). The trick is to prove this is not the case, that C was driving in an unsafe manner. Dashcams help.

A friend of mine got a ticket this way. The trucker ahead of her was going 45 on a winding, 55 mph two-lane highway. She gunned it to 65 in order to safely pass him. Right after she merged back into his lane, a cop stopped her for speeding. He told her if she couldn’t pass by going the speed limit, she shouldn’t try. I’ve never understood this. Driving at the speed limit on a two-lane is going to put you and oncoming drivers at higher risk because it takes so long to pass, right?

Then, the law says, you shouldn’t pass. If you can’t pass and stay within the speed limit, then don’t pass.

Mr. Bumble (rather, Dickens) was right.

But of course, everyone goes 10mph over the limit on highways. However, the police have the discretion to let it go or give you a ticket; hence proving Mr. Bumble correct.

No, it varies by state. In Wyoming–where the friend of mine got ticketed–drivers are allowed to temporarily exceed the speed limit by 10-15 mph in order to safely pass a slow-moving vehicle. A cop there told me that on some roads, it’s dangerous to pass at the speed limit if you’re on a two-lane highway and going the speed limit keeps you in the oncoming lane too long.

I believe the same 10-15 mile rule is in place here in Washington state, but I’m no longer driving so haven’t looked it up.

I live in the UK and you should never have cars keeping parallel on a highway (we call them motorways.)
This is bad driving because:

  • you are limiting each driver’s options in case of an emergency
  • you are not allowing anyone to pass

New York appears to be a little different from Michigan - I have absolutely been reimbursed for damages to my car from the insurer of the at-fault vehicle and everything I can find about no-fault in NY says something like this:

It’s important to note that New York’s no-fault car insurance system applies to injuries caused by car accidents, but not to vehicle damage claims. A claim for damage to (or total loss of) a vehicle can be made against the at-fault driver in New York, with no limitation

Question - if it’s truly no fault, why did your insurance cover the other driver’s deductible? It sounds more like fault is an issue in your state, but only up to the amount of the deductible.

Not the case here in Ontario either. No fault covers the insured car for all perils. Fault determination rules apply to being charged by police as well as impact on rate increases.

If I get rear-ended, my insurance company fixes my car and my rates are not impacted. If I’m speeding and run off the road, take out a hydro pole, and kill someone’s dog, my insurance company will cover everything but I will likely be charged and have my rates go through the roof at renewal.

That’s how it’s supposed to work in the US as well. And yet you see clumps of cars in the left lane going roughly the same speed as those in the middle lane. Sometimes the right lane (closest to the on- and off-ramps) is wide open and one can pass there (no, it’s not illegal to do so). I admit to delighting in doing so when I’m in my little Honda Fit and the slowpoke in the left lane is in something like a BMW.

You got me there, no idea. Making the ‘innocent’ driver suffer the hassle of getting her car fixed made me feel bad enough so her not having to spend any money at least gave me some comfort, though I doubt she felt highly of me in any way.

That was the only accident I’ve ever had and I know I screwed up. Strange town so not familiar with traffic patterns, I properly stopped at a stop sign, three passengers in the car yapping about something or other, and I pulled across the side road without looking closely enough at possible oncoming traffic from the left. I hardly saw the car I hit on its right rear, and feel bad about it to this day. No one was hurt but I hate to think about what disruption I caused in that young girls summer.

Every site I have searched says “no-fault” only applies to personal injury, not to property damage. Including this publication from the State of Michigan:

There is a process called subrogation, where your insurance company will pay damages to your vehicle immediately, then work with the other driver’s insurance company to sort out how much each driver is at fault. Typically you pay your deductible, and if they find out the other driver is at 100% fault they will be reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance company - including the deductible you paid, which they refund to you.

Bottom line: It might seem like the property damage in handled in a no-fault way, but the insurance companies are working behind the scenes to determine fault so that the appropriate company pays.

That’s easy: if you stopped 100 drivers and asked “What’s your blind spot when driving?”, > 90 would say, “Huh?”

This seems to explain mundylion’s situation- accoroding to the brochure

In general, you can only be sued:
…(d) for up to $1,000 if you are 50% or more at
fault in an accident which causes damages to
another person’s car which are not covered
by insurance


  1. Limited Property Damage Liability
    Insurance - “Mini-Tort”
    Most companies offer coverage for the $1,000
    liability mentioned in (d) in the section on
    residual liability insurance.

Seems like the other driver’s insurance paid for her damages minus her deductible, and then either the driver or her insurance company made a claim for the deductible with mundylion ’s insurance. But that’s pretty much exactly what I meant when I said “It sounds more like fault is an issue in your state, but only up to the amount of the deductible.”

And the way some people have said that no-fault is a better system - I wonder if they realize that it’s apparently not true that your costs will be paid regardless of fault. Medical expenses, sure. Lost income , maybe . But for the most part, damages to your car will only be paid in Michigan if you have collision/comprehensive insurance on your own car - so if I don’t have collision/comprehensive* on my car and an at-fault driver hits me and causes $3000 worth of damage, I sue the other driver for $1K and have to eat the other $2K myself ( either in paying for the repairs or having a car that’s worth less)

  • Which is not uncommon in a state where fault matters - at some point, the value of a car is too low to be worth that coverage, as it will not pay more than the book value of the car.

The OP at first sounds plausible but I’m not sure it can really happen like that, at least here in the UK.

If cars A and C are travelling at the same speed for an extended time, with a lane in between them, then that suggests some bizarre collaboration to try to create an accident. Plus the driver in the outer lane is already breaking the law. I’ve never seen it happen, but if it did you could tell the police and they could try to track down driver A from highway camera footage…

OTOH If they aren’t travelling at the same speed then I can just pick appropriate moments to overtake one car and undertake the other (bearing in mind that undertaking is also prohibited, but if the driver refuses to move over, then eventually you are justified in undertaking). I would do so at a time where I am not sandwiched.

A more concrete way of forming the OP dilemma is if lane B is clear but A and C are both blocked with queues of traffic. In which case driver B should be driving slowly and cautiously, because a driver in lane A or C not checking their mirrors properly and changing quickly into lane B is quite likely.

Yes, this.

This kind of question reminds me of the self-driving car dilemmas, where the AI has to decide whether to kill the occupant or a pedestrian.

In reality, a good driver does not drive at speed in a severely constrained situation. Any time your options look limited, you should slow down. If your only option is to swerve into another car then you probably already made a critical error.

I recall driving in the middle lane of a 3-lanes-each-way expressway (motorway) in England, middle of the night, nobody else around, and a police car crossed very close in front of me and almost took off the driver’s side fender he came so close. I figured out it was their way of saying “get into the outside lane”.

I saw in Italy how the Autostrada worked so well - everyone kept to the outside lane unless passing; if you were passing 120kph and the guy in the Mercedes came zooming up at 150kph he flashed his lights to tell you he was there, and politely waited until you’d passed to Fiat 500 doing 80kph and got out of his way. Nobody assumed they owned the road.

A fellow I worked with once did a stint as a contractor in another province, and kept his car insured in Ontario. His excuse - the other province had mandatory government car insurance, and for him to insure in Ontario without collision coverage on an old car was far cheaper than the mandatory full coverage there. He said people asked him how he could do that while living there for 3 years, and his reply was “Well, if they’d give me contracts of more than 6 months at a time, maybe I’d move my permanent residence to there.”

Which brings up the other question about no-fault - presumably it also covers paying the costs of out-of-state (or province) drivers should you be at fault, like regular insurance does.

In theory, you can flash to pass in the US as well but a percentage of drivers wouldn’t recognize the signal and keep on going too slowly in the passing lane and another percentage would be triggered into road rage.

In fairness, flashing your lights is not a standard signal in the British Highway Code either.

You are not supposed to flash your lights to tell others to move, except in an emergency.

It does say that if another driver flashes their lights behind you, then you should move over and let them pass, but that’s just a defensive-driving response to an aggressive driver; not a recommended method of interaction.

Oh…I should add “IIRC”

It’s just that it appeared to me - that one time I drove the autostradas for a couple of days - that it was a common and accepted thing in Italy. (Much as here, flashing your lights at oncoming traffic means “police ahead” or flashing high-beams at an approaching car at night means “you’ve forgotten you still have your high beams on.”) of course, the whole system fell apart once we got into Milan, where there were 3 crowded lanes of traffic going the same direction and less time to pass between intersections.

In years of driving Canada and the USA, I don’t think I’ve ever had someone flash their lights to ask me to move over to the outside lane; the standard North American technique is to tailgate until the idiot in front of you gets the hint. If I am the idiot in front, my excuse is “I’m going faster than the dickweeds in the outer lane and I’m already 10k over the limit, so sucks to be you. I’ll move when I’m past all the slow dickweeds.”

California, especially southern California, recognizes “flash to pass” pretty reliably. On the other hand, I just had the dubious pleasure of driving 750 miles on I-84 in Oregon and true to my expectations Oregon drivers will get over once they’re done passing and see you coming up on them, Washington drivers will eventually move over but not until they’ve made you slow down (WA is a “left lane is passing only” and it’s enforced while OR is “left lane is suggested to be for passing only” but enforcement is nil and the WA drivers just love being able to hog the left lane with impunity) Idaho cars won’t get over for love nor money because they’re being driven by stupid rednecks who have something to prove and Utah drivers apparently have never worked out what the rear view mirrors are for, judging by the way the car will suddenly juke once the driver finally catches a glimpse of you behind them. Utah drivers you usually have to pass on the right and even then they won’t take the hint and get the fuck over. Then there’s the trucks with the 1 mph speed differential pissing contests. Those are fun.

In much of California, passing lanes just can’t really exist. There are so many cars on the road that everyone’s stuck going at least 10 mph slower than they’d like. There’s always some jackass weaving between the cars to try to get there faster, putting everyone else in danger to save five minutes.