Got ticketed for unsafe lane change!
I was trying to make a lane change to my right. I signalled, did shoulder check, mirror check, when this car came behind me very fast out of nowhere. I saw it and I hit the brakes. I may have crossed the lane (I don't remember!) but I definitely didn't hit the other car. It swerved onto the sidewalk, overtook my car, skidded for about ten meters, spun and hit a sign post with the left side passenger door. I didn't hit the other car and I could've driven on, but I did the responsible thing. and pulled over to see if the driver and his passenger were all right. I stayed behind to wait for the cops.
Here's where things get interesting.
A patrol cop came by and told us that he wasn't here to handle the case but he thought we were in an unsafe position and he told me to take my car to a parking lot. He also told the tow truck to tow the crashed car to the parking lot. We saw no reason to question him, so I took my car to a nearby parking lot. Nobody knows who he is, nobody knows his badge number. Nobody can find him now, but he's someone who's seen the aftermath of the accident. And he didn't take notes.
The dispatched officer was on site when I returned from the parking lot and he said because we moved the cars, there's nothing for him to look at. But he had to charge someone when there's a collision, so he ticketed me for HFA 142 (1), which is Change Lane - Not In Safety. The only witness is the passenger of the other car, and the officer has said that he's not really a credible witness as he's with the driver of the other car. The officer did not ask where the accident occurred. He did not examine the skid marks on the floor. He just asked both parties what happened, and then he said he had to charge me.
I'm going to fight the ticket. I've consulted two paralegals and they gave me completely different answers. One of them said I don't really have a case as I indirectly caused the accident by cutting the other car off. The other said because the patrol cop moved the cars, he destroyed evidence on the scene, and she even told me to say the other driver might've been behind me since I didn't see him when I did my shoulder check, and unsafely pulling to the lane on my right to try to overtake me at high speed.
I don't know what to do. I don't know what my chances are or what arguments I can use to get this right. Also, I was driving someone else's car, so I definitely don't want to jack up his insurance. Can someone help me??? Thanks.
Safety is priority #1...If the cars are moveable we get them off the road into a safe location. This prevents further collisions and prevents traffic congestion. There is absolutely no reason to block a lane/intersection etc.. if the vehicles can be moved to a safe location.
To what you described, sounds like the correct offence.
There are variables that obviously us readers do not know, how many lanes, what speed you were travelling, why did you need to change lanes, if changing lanes for a turn, why were you in the left lane to start with, how far ahead was your turn, why were you not in that lane ahead of time if you knew you were turning etc...
Thanks for getting back to me.
We moved the vehicles as we agreed with the first patrol officer. The other vehicle cannot be driven and needed to be towed. When the investigating officer came, he told us we shouldn't have moved and there's nothing for him to see now that we've been moved. So that's why I'm asking.
There were three lanes. I was in the middle lane and I needed to make a right turn but I wasn't familiar with the area, so I wanted to keep right and drive a little slower so I can make the turn when I see it. If I say that in court, does that sound bad that I wasn't familiar with the area?
It was a 60km/h road, and I was probably going about 55kh/h. The other car coming from behind me was definitely faster than 60km/h, not that I can prove it.
The fact that you were unfamiliar with the area won't hurt you in court. Unfortunately, it won't help much, either. HOWEVER, things that could help you are what the one paralegal mentioned:
- Did the vehicle coming up behind you suddenly change lanes into the lane you wanted to merge into? (Didn't sound like he did from your answer, but it's a possibility.)
- Did the vehicle suddenly speed up to stop you from merging? (You saw him, it appeared safe, and then he floored it to stop you from getting in front.)
Either one of those possibilities could help you. The fact that he was going fast, in and of itself, doesn't help much; but if he was weaving from lane to lane, or suddenly accelerated, etc., creating an unpredictable situation for you and other motorists, that's different.
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca
Thank you for the pointers, everyone.
Originally I've been charged with HTA 142 (1) Unsafe Lane Change. I've just met with the prosecutor today and they're willing to change to a lesser charge 142 (7) Improper Signal if I plead guilty. I think that's what I'm going to do instead of fighting the charges in court since I have no witness on my side but there's one witness on the other driver's side, and also because I'm a G2 now, I won't get the 30-day suspension if I get charged in the end.
I know this doesn't have anything to do with my court case, but how does 142 (7) look on my insurance? I'm being claimed for damage by the other driver. If I plead guilty to the charge, does it mean for the insurance company that I admit I was at fault for the accident and need to pay for the damages?
Insurance companies use the Fault Determination Rules to determine who was at fault, not who was convicted of what.
NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.
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