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Centre turn lane as a passing lane
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:24 pm 
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Looking for input to the following situation:

I was making a left turn off of a driveway and there was a car approaching from the left and they were driving in their proper respective lane. The driver came to a stop and signaled me to proceed to continue with me left turn. In other words, he granted me the right of way in an effort to be nice. I continued with my left turn and focused my attention to the traffic that would be coming in the opposite direction to see if it was clear to proceed. The two lanes of traffic were separted by a center turn lane, so if effect there are three lanes in the road. As I proceeded to continue with my turn I struck a car. That car was coming from the left and from what I could determine, they used the center lane as a passing lane to get past the car that had originally granted me the right of way in order to proceed with my left turn.

What I am trying to understand is if it is permitted in the Ontario Traffic Act to use the center turn lane as a passing lane. If yes, then I completely understand that I would be 100% at fault but if in fact their actions of using the center lane as a passing lane are illegal do I have anything in my favour given this situation?

Appreciate any thoughts?

Thanks.


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:57 am 
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It would be somewhat dependent on the signage. If the turn lane simply has arrows painted on the ground, it has little meaning. If there are actual signs indicating the lane is for left turns only, then a passing maneuver would likely be illegal. It would also be somewhat dependent on the actions of the driver who stopped to let you in, and if they were signalling to turn etc.


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:02 pm 
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Thanks for the response.

To fill in some more of the details:
- There were arrows painted on the ground and the center turn lane was identified by solid and dashed yellow lines on both sides.
- I don't believe that there was a sign indicating left/right turns only.
- The driver who stopped to let me in was not signalling to turn nor was he in the center turn lane, he was actually in the oncoming traffic lane (to my left) and he stopped to let me proceed with me left turn.

Sounds like while I'm still at fault, the guy who I hit was in fact impatient and just tried to jump the waiting line of cars in front of him - I certainly don't believe that I was being careless in this situation, the guy just came out of nowhere too fast.


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:33 pm 
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If there were turn arrows in the oncoming centre lane, then the oncoming driver who you collided with would be guilty of disobeying the lane markings, or possibly careless driving. However, they could also say that you made an unsafe left turn. Have you been charged with anything?

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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:25 pm 
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A guy I work with had that happen to him. He was making a left turn out of a gas station, traffic had stopped to let him out, but some guy guy ripping up the center turn lane and nailed him. I believe the guy that hit him was deemed at fault.

The officer would of told you if you were at fault at the scene of the accident, no?


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:38 pm 
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I have since revisited the location of the accident and in fact there is posted signage on the road that indicates that the centre lane is for turning only.

There was no police involved at the time of crash as the accident was fairly minor: no one was hurt; damage to both cars not so bad; and both cars were very drivable. I did have to go to a police collision reporting centre though and there one of the officers asked me if I believed what I did was correct. What am I going to say here, that making a left turn when someone let's you in is wrong? I mentioned that I didn't believe that I did anything incorrect and then he began berrating me - according to this officer: I was coming off of a private driveway, I'm making a left, and the person who stopped to let me in has no authority to do this as they are in effect directing traffic and they do not have the authority to do so.

Now I'm not saying that I'm entirely in the right here but I wasn't expecting this sort of response from an old, overweight, badly balding law enforcement agent. At this point there are no charges against me but if I'm asked to pay any deductables or whatever, I'm contemplating getting more legal advice to see if it makes sense to pursue this any further given the circumstances.

And to think, this is what I get for trying to be as careful as I possible could be. Still smiling though. :D


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Technically speaking even if the other person illegally used the turn lane, you could still be charged for failing to yield from a private drive. Under insurance fault determination rules which are separate from the HTA, you'd be 100% at fault as well I believe.


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:36 am 
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Come to think of it... In an ideal world, unless the other side of the intersection was blocked, the driver who stopped to let you turn should have been charged as well. (Granted, not much they could've charged him with, but still...) The reason being, there was no legal reason for him to stop, and the driver behind him probably thought that he was either going to turn right, or had stopped for no apparent reason and was manoeuvring to pass a stopped vehicle.

When I was a teenager, I got into a collision in somewhat similar circumstances. A driver in the passing lane stopped - at a green light - to let an oncoming driver turn left. The oncoming driver got suckered and turned left, just as I was coming through in the right lane. We couldn't see each other because of buddy who stopped, so it was too late to avoid a collision and I broadsided him. Luckily, no one was hurt. The driver who stopped "to be nice" immediately fled the scene.

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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Stanton wrote:
Technically speaking even if the other person illegally used the turn lane, you could still be charged for failing to yield from a private drive. Under insurance fault determination rules which are separate from the HTA, you'd be 100% at fault as well I believe.


Good point. I believe in my friends case, the reason he wasn't charged was because they yahoo was ripping up the turn lane fast, and from a long distance away (i.e. beating all the traffic to get to the left turn lane at the intersection quicker), and the cop used his discretion. If you've ever driven in Scarborough, think of the mid 90's integra/civic with a fart can weaving in and out of traffic. It was that sort of guy.


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Re: Centre turn lane as a passing lane
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:32 pm 
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Appreciate all the input and just recently finished my conversation with the insurance broker. As it turns out the other insurance company has me at fault 100%: making a left turn, coming out of a private driveway, and taking the right of way from a situation where I should not have done so. Again, no one was hurt and the damage to the cars were very fixable, and for that I'm grateful.


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