First off, I am really happy this site exists. This is my first ticket and the consequences of this ticket is much more than I believe I deserve.
Here is the situation:
My girlfriend was returning her Dad's car to Woodstock from Guelph and I was trailing her with her mother's car so she can have a ride back to Guelph after she returned her Dad's car.
As we was nearing the 401 I realized I started to fall 5 cars behind her because I normally I drive with a large gap between me and the car in front of me.
We entered the ON ramp onto the 401 and the traffic was almost bumper to bumper, moving at 20-30 km/h.
The car in front started to merge onto the highway about 1/10th the distance down the ON ramp and was merging at around 10-20 km/h. Once the car in front of me was halfway between the ON ramp
and the first lane, I saw there was no one else on the ON ramp in front of me, so I saw this as a chance to catch up to my girlfriend. So I swerved slightly to the right to avoid the car in front of
me and accelerated a little harder than normal and reached a speed of 50 km/h. I wanted to merge behind my girlfriend, but saw there was no space so I aimed to merge behind the car behind her.
I started slowing down and signaled and slowly started merging to make my intent known and to see if the driver would slow down and give me a little more space. That is when the police car raised his sirens and stopped me.
The police asked me for the standard driver licence and insurance and told me what I did was dangerous. He asked if I normally drive like that and I said no, I was just trying to keep up with my girlfriend since i don't know the destination. Went back to his car, did the paperwork and then came back with a 490 dollar fine and 6 demerit points and said you know what you did I don't need to explain it to you. This was my first ticket in 8 years of driving (albeit sporadic).
I was very confused when engaging with the officer because I knew that it was not something I would do in a normal scenario, but I don't think it was worth $490 dollars and the officer never specified what I did wrong. At the end all I did was try to merge later down the ON ramp. I was moving faster than normal, but when I came time to merge again I slowed down, signalled and made a small maneuver to make my intent known. So at the end of the day I don't think what I did was that bad. But I am no
expert, this is why I am here. So please advise me, should I fight this and how do you think this will turn out? Also how do I fight this ticket?
Below is a an illustration of the situation.
ON RAMP [Slowed down, signalled, slowly began to merge btw Car 1/2] <<<My Path <<<<<< < <<<<<<<< [ My Car]
1st Lane [ Girlfriend's Car ] [ Car Number 1 ] [Car Number 2] [ Car Number 3] [ Car Number 4]
On the surface, based on your description, it sounds like you actually did the right thing. Most people don't use on ramps and acceleration lanes correctly. If I had a dollar for every person who switched into a driving lane right at the end of the on ramp at 70 or 80 km/h, I'd be a rich man. Of course, none of us was there to see exactly what happened, but it seems you used the full length of the acceleration lane, as one is supposed to do. If anything, the officer may have taken exception to you driving around 50 when the flow of traffic was between 10 and 20.
I think what the officer may have had a problem with is going from a driving lane into the ON ramp, passing cars in the driving lane, then re-merging with the lane he just came from. I don't think the on ramp is designed to be a passing lane to pass slower vehicles, and is to be used by vehicles only merging ON to the highway.
If traffic was going slow and the merging driver did have 9/10ths of the merge lane still to use even though traffic was bumper to bumper, and saw a spot where he could get in at 1/10th of the merge lane, why not take advantage of that spot available? The OP once out in the merge lane noticed that he couldn't get back in and had to the space behind his gf so had to "fight" his way back into the driving lane. You don't have to use the whole merge lane to get further ahead of the cars in the driving lane unless you can do so safely. It is designed to get up to highway speed (Sometimes needing the whole ramp) without cutting off other drivers who are already up to highway speed. In this case the merging driver was up to highway speed and merged correctly.
THIS time, I am for the officer given the statement of account below. The original merging driver already didn't have control of his driving lane before the OP swerved out past the car still merging and getting into the 1st lane. I am guessing this happened around Cambridge/Kitchener construction and would have had +/- 45kms to catch up to the other car in a safer manner.
Needs to be MORE officers giving tickets like this for moves like this!
"I think what the officer may have had a problem with is going from a driving lane into the ON ramp, passing cars in the driving lane, then re-merging with the lane he just came from. I don't think the on ramp is designed to be a passing lane to pass slower vehicles, and is to be used by vehicles only merging ON to the highway."
dadtoandrew you misunderstood. I didn't merge from the driving lane, to the ON ramp and back to driving lane. I was not on the high way to begin with.
I was coming on to the highway from a regional road.
You are correct, I misread what was there as far as where your position was on the highway. My apologies.
Either way though, you still "passed" a car that was still straddling the merge lane and the 1st lane, and they didn't have their car completely in the 1st driving lane. I believe that if you waited even until the car was completely in the 1st lane, then when you got to the end of the ramp and there was no space you got into the 1st driving lane at that time the officer wouldn't have even noticed. I think it was likely the passing and not the speed that caught the attention of the police.
What you did was wrong. From your description can we assume that your right tires were on the shoulder ?
It's certainly not the most henious of manoeuvres so I would suspect you could plead down to a lesser offence.
Not knowing where you are going is certainly no defence.
I missed the part about the swerve to the right.
As somebody once said, there's your story, his story, and the truth...
You need to request your trial date and request the disclosure package to get the officer's version of events. That process is dealt with here ad nauseum so I won't repeat it.
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