1. #1
    NTH
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    Failure to yeild the right of way, nothing to yield to?

    Question about a ticket and accident. I was pulling out of a neighborhood street onto a secondary road that has a curve and creates a blind spot. The speed limit on the secondary road is 45, I asume where it starts is because of the curve and the blind street. When I stopped and looked there was no vehicle in sight. I had pulled out to turn left and after I was already on the road I saw the other vehicle to my left coming around the curve (appeared to be approaching fast). I hurried to get into my lane as I was already in the road and starting to turn my vehicle into my lane. The other driver started slamming their brakes, crossed into my lane, then jerked out of my lane, lost contol, hit a ditch bank then went up the ditchbank/hill and hit a tree. The other vehicle had 126' of skid marks before hitting the ditch bank and then travel another 54' when they hit the tree (side of left bumper) at a wham. I pulled off the road and looked back, saw what at happened, immediately called 911 and went back to check on the driver. They got a ticket for crossing left of the center line, I got a ticket for failing to yeild the right of way. I very respecfully asked the officer why I got a ticket for failure to yield when there was nothing to yield to when I pulled out. He explained the law but I was still so shook I guess I did not understand. I see this as I am being blammed for the accident and I think the other driving was probably driving around 60 mph and that is why they were on me before I saw them. The officer asked why they went into my lane and they said they were afraid I was going to stop and they were trying to avoid hitting me and when they saw I was proceeding into my lane they jerked the car back. Any advice in how to handle this would be appreciated (I am 55 and it is my first ticket).

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTH View Post
    Question about a ticket and accident. I was pulling out of a neighborhood street onto a secondary road that has a curve and creates a blind spot. The speed limit on the secondary road is 45, I asume where it starts is because of the curve and the blind street. When I stopped and looked there was no vehicle in sight. I had pulled out to turn left and after I was already on the road I saw the other vehicle to my left coming around the curve (appeared to be approaching fast). I hurried to get into my lane as I was already in the road and starting to turn my vehicle into my lane. The other driver started slamming their brakes, crossed into my lane, then jerked out of my lane, lost contol, hit a ditch bank then went up the ditchbank/hill and hit a tree. The other vehicle had 126' of skid marks before hitting the ditch bank and then travel another 54' when they hit the tree (side of left bumper) at a wham. I pulled off the road and looked back, saw what at happened, immediately called 911 and went back to check on the driver. They got a ticket for crossing left of the center line, I got a ticket for failing to yeild the right of way. I very respecfully asked the officer why I got a ticket for failure to yield when there was nothing to yield to when I pulled out. He explained the law but I was still so shook I guess I did not understand. I see this as I am being blammed for the accident and I think the other driving was probably driving around 60 mph and that is why they were on me before I saw them. The officer asked why they went into my lane and they said they were afraid I was going to stop and they were trying to avoid hitting me and when they saw I was proceeding into my lane they jerked the car back. Any advice in how to handle this would be appreciated (I am 55 and it is my first ticket).
    What you're essentially asking us to do, is second guess the investigating officer. I really can't do that. All I can do, is offer you some thoughts, based on your post. The situation you described, would seem to call for an extra amount of caution.(blind curve,etc). You should be able to research the traffic laws of your state on line. Carefully review the requirement to yield the right of way when entering a roadway. If you still feel the citation was unfair, then by all means take it to court. At age 55, you've no doubt been driving a good number of years. It this is your first citation, you have compiled a commendable record.

  3. #3
    jakflak
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    I'd say fight the ticket.

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    NTH
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    Thanks, I understand your reply. I did fail to mention on the other driver's report it was noted their speed approximately 50. I went online to some of the calculate speed based on skid marks. Are these sights formulas fairly reliable? I know I am not a reconstruction of an accident expert but these seem fairly simple. I do plan to go to court I just do not want to look like a fool or trying to malicious.

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    NTH
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    PS. The officer did not do any measuring initally. I left my keys in his car and he came back to bring them. When he came back he measured then and said to me I won't say she was going 45 and I won't say she was going 60?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTH View Post
    When he came back he measured then and said to me I won't say she was going 45 and I won't say she was going 60?
    What were the road conditions like? Had it just started to rain? Had it been raining for a while? Was there snow or ice? Was it dry? What kind of vehicle was she driving? A heavy truck/SUV or a small car that would be light in weight?

    There's a lot of factors that play a role in determining how fast someone was going based on the distance they traveled after hitting the brakes.

    And like mentioned before, check your states "failure to yield" laws, as those should shed some pretty good light on your situation. None of us were there so this is all speculation on our part... based solely off of your post.

    And one last thing, glad to hear you're okay. Hopefully the other driver wasn't either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTH View Post
    I did fail to mention on the other driver's report it was noted their speed approximately 50.
    You sure it states the speed? I can’t speak for NC, but in my state we don't estimate a vehicles speed or measure to determine a speed unless the accident was a fatal. Just wondering...

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    If I had to guess (and it's only really a guess), you were cited for failure to yield because you pulled out in front of the other driver. Their attempt to avoid a collision with your car caused them to loose control and crash.

    You said you were turning left, and they came from the left. You also stated that the other operator stated their reason for crossing into your lane was that they were afraid that you were going to stop your car... implying that you were mostly in their lane when they came around the corner.

    If you feel that you were unjustly cited, appeal the ticked and give your case.

    -Zack

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    NTH
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    I did see on her report the trooper completed approximate speed 50 mph. I am not sure if it was a question to answer but road conditions were good, dry, no rain, snow or ice. The other vehicle was a large (Suburban). The other driver had her 3 children and they all were fine because they were properly secured.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTH View Post
    Thanks, I understand your reply. I did fail to mention on the other driver's report it was noted their speed approximately 50. I went online to some of the calculate speed based on skid marks. Are these sights formulas fairly reliable? I know I am not a reconstruction of an accident expert but these seem fairly simple. I do plan to go to court I just do not want to look like a fool or trying to malicious.
    I am a collision reconstructionist. I can tell you that while the formulas themselves may be fairly simple, the tough part is being sure that you imput the correct data. A lot of these online formulas will make assumptions about the frictional values of different surfaces. For example, obviously the frictional value of a vehicle skidding over asphalt is different than that of the same vehicle skidding over grass. If I am reading your post correctly, this vehicle skidded on asphalt then onto grass, struck a tree, and skidded some more. For this you would need the frictional value for the asphalt, the grass and you would have to be able to know at what speed the impact with the tree was made. While I know exactly where I would start to figure it out, it is not somthing I would even consider to begin on this forum, without seeing the scene or being able to do my own frictional testing.

    Let me put it to you like this, we had a collision a few years back where a young lady was killed. We calculated the speed of the vehicle that hit hers at a minimum of 71 mph. The victim's husband got on a web site, punched in some numbers and got a speed of 90 something. My point is this, while the forumulas may be reliable (not saying these are cause I don't know what website you are looking at) if you do not know how to use them properly or do not have the right data to imput into the formula, you are not going to get the correct answer.

    Now, if you want me to take some vacation days and come out and do a reconstruction for you, the going rate for private reconstruction is around $150/hr plus expenses.

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    NTH
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    I guess it is just hard for me to accept the fact I failed to yield the right of way since there was no vehicle in my sight when I pulled out. When I go out that way I always look both ways. The right is a clear shoot so I do continue to keep the left in my sight as I pull out. I mis-quoted the trooper that he actually said he was not going to say she was running 45 or 65. I am going to court and plead my case because I sincerely think if she had not been speeding this could have been avoided. Also based on the marks I had time to get in my lane. The other "little" thing that goes through my head is the trooper asked if she was running late trying to get kids to school and she said no she had plenty of time. (He did ask me the same about getting to wrok.) But, I let her use my cell phone and she was supposed to pick up 2 more kids and needed to let them know she would not be there. She told the other per on the phone what had happened, not sure what they replied but she said. "I was running behind........." You all probably think I am making a mountain out of a mole hill and cannot accept the fact I got a ticket but it does really bother me that she was not there when I pulled out.

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    NTH
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    I wish I had the money to hire you just to satisfy my mind. If I am wrong I am wrong. I guess I am searching for a way to come to terms with this.

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    To go back to the event, the vehicle had approx. 126' skid on the asphalt, then hit into a ditch embankment, then continued another 54' before hitting/grazing a tree with the left bumper. Probably went another 3 -4 feet past the tree because it was blocking the driver's door. And you can just tell when an approaching vechicle is coming fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTH View Post
    To go back to the event, the vehicle had approx. 126' skid on the asphalt, then hit into a ditch embankment, then continued another 54' before hitting/grazing a tree with the left bumper. Probably went another 3 -4 feet past the tree because it was blocking the driver's door. And you can just tell when an approaching vechicle is coming fast.
    The accident you were involved in is a classic case of contributory circumstances. Let's assume for sake of discussion that the SUV was speeding. That fact would be a contributing circumstance. The cause of the accident though was occassioned by your failure to yield the right of way. The fact the curve was blind, makes it all the more neccessary that the driver emerging from a private drive, exercise due caution. No one here is remotely suggesting that you wanted this event to occur. That's why we call them accidents. As I noted to you in my original reply, you have compiled an exemplary driving record. Please let me repeat my suggestion that if you feel the citation was not justified, you should enter a plea of Not guilty, and let the court decide.

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    That is what court is for. Take advantage of you right to explain you side of the situation. My only advice is that you keep it simple. Don't come into court with reams of technical data that you have downloaded from a website and try to "prove" your case with formulas that you don't have a working knowledge of. Just speak plainly. "I looked. I did not see any cars coming from either direction. I pulled out and THEN I saw her car coming around the corner".

    Please remember some universal courtroom behavior. Remain calm at all times. Don't interrupt other people when they are talking. This includes the investigating Officer, the other driver, the Judge, perhaps even the janitor lol). You will get your chance to speak your piece. Yelling or making funky little snorting noises will not further your cause.

    I realize that you did not ask for all of this advice and I give some of it with a tongue in cheek tone; however I have seen people with good cases, shoot themselves in the foot with their courtroom behavior. Good luck with your case. Come back and let us know how it turned out.

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    NTH
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    Thank you all for all the advice. I will go to court and plead my case with respect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTH View Post
    Question about a ticket and accident. I was pulling out of a neighborhood street onto a secondary road that has a curve and creates a blind spot. The speed limit on the secondary road is 45, I asume where it starts is because of the curve and the blind street. When I stopped and looked there was no vehicle in sight. I had pulled out to turn left and after I was already on the road I saw the other vehicle to my left coming around the curve (appeared to be approaching fast). I hurried to get into my lane as I was already in the road and starting to turn my vehicle into my lane. The other driver started slamming their brakes, crossed into my lane, then jerked out of my lane, lost contol, hit a ditch bank then went up the ditchbank/hill and hit a tree. The other vehicle had 126' of skid marks before hitting the ditch bank and then travel another 54' when they hit the tree (side of left bumper) at a wham. I pulled off the road and looked back, saw what at happened, immediately called 911 and went back to check on the driver. They got a ticket for crossing left of the center line, I got a ticket for failing to yeild the right of way. I very respecfully asked the officer why I got a ticket for failure to yield when there was nothing to yield to when I pulled out. He explained the law but I was still so shook I guess I did not understand. I see this as I am being blammed for the accident and I think the other driving was probably driving around 60 mph and that is why they were on me before I saw them. The officer asked why they went into my lane and they said they were afraid I was going to stop and they were trying to avoid hitting me and when they saw I was proceeding into my lane they jerked the car back. Any advice in how to handle this would be appreciated (I am 55 and it is my first ticket).
    This is one reason why people who witness accidents don't generally stick around for the police. Although I probably would have wrote it as well, I'm thinking that it ultimately comes down to a your word versus his. All you would possibly have to say is that by the time the car came to where you was at you were already in your lane driving the opposite direction. Did you pull out "in front" of him? Probably not. You pulled out and then the car came around the corner, he assumed that you were going to stop and decided to slam on the brakes and swerve. You have no control over his assumptions. Just tell your side of it in court and it will probably go well.

    To be honest, I would have checked on him and if he was okay enough to wait for the cop, without the possibility of dying, I would have probably left the scene considering it was a one vehicle accident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipCal View Post
    Let's assume for sake of discussion that the SUV was speeding. That fact would be a contributing circumstance. The cause of the accident though was occassioned by your failure to yield the right of way. The fact the curve was blind, makes it all the more neccessary that the driver emerging from a private drive, exercise due caution.
    I guess I'm a little more sympathetic to the original poster. Actually, a friend of mine just had the identical thing happen in a neighboring jurisdiction: he was emerging from a parking lot driveway onto a secondary street just beyond a blind curve. He carefully checked in both directions, looking in the direction of the curve LAST and continuing to watch it as he pulled out. When his car was about half way into the roadway a car came speeding around the curve and struck his, totaling both cars and sending the other driver to the hospital. While my friend was not cited, he was issued a written warning for failure to grant right of way. He therefore has the same question: if there is an established speed limit that the other driver is exceeding, and the roadway is clear at the time he starts moving out of the driveway, and then and only then another driver speeds through the turn and an accident ensues, how can anyone say he failed to grant right of way?

    I do not specialize in MVA investigation (we have a specialized team for that) but this seems an entirely legitimate question to me. Granting (or failing to grant) right of way assumes that a reasonably prudent person could see the approaching traffic in time to grant it the right of way. If this is physically impossible due to the combination of a blind curve and excessive speed by the other driver, it seems inappropriate to claim that the individual failed to grant right of way.

    I can fully understand when we disbelieve the motorist's claim as to the other vehicle's speed, but assuming for sake of argument that all is as he claims, what's the basis for concluding this is a failure to grant ROW?

    Pete

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddogg123 View Post
    This is one reason why people who witness accidents don't generally stick around for the police. Although I probably would have wrote it as well, I'm thinking that it ultimately comes down to a your word versus his. All you would possibly have to say is that by the time the car came to where you was at you were already in your lane driving the opposite direction. Did you pull out "in front" of him? Probably not. You pulled out and then the car came around the corner, he assumed that you were going to stop and decided to slam on the brakes and swerve. You have no control over his assumptions. Just tell your side of it in court and it will probably go well.

    To be honest, I would have checked on him and if he was okay enough to wait for the cop, without the possibility of dying, I would have probably left the scene considering it was a one vehicle accident.

    In Maryland that would be considered leaving the scene of an accident. An arrestable offence. I think you did the right thing by sticking around. Then again, laws are different in different states.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteGould View Post
    I guess I'm a little more sympathetic to the original poster. Actually, a friend of mine just had the identical thing happen in a neighboring jurisdiction: he was emerging from a parking lot driveway onto a secondary street just beyond a blind curve. He carefully checked in both directions, looking in the direction of the curve LAST and continuing to watch it as he pulled out. When his car was about half way into the roadway a car came speeding around the curve and struck his, totaling both cars and sending the other driver to the hospital. While my friend was not cited, he was issued a written warning for failure to grant right of way. He therefore has the same question: if there is an established speed limit that the other driver is exceeding, and the roadway is clear at the time he starts moving out of the driveway, and then and only then another driver speeds through the turn and an accident ensues, how can anyone say he failed to grant right of way?

    I do not specialize in MVA investigation (we have a specialized team for that) but this seems an entirely legitimate question to me. Granting (or failing to grant) right of way assumes that a reasonably prudent person could see the approaching traffic in time to grant it the right of way. If this is physically impossible due to the combination of a blind curve and excessive speed by the other driver, it seems inappropriate to claim that the individual failed to grant right of way.

    I can fully understand when we disbelieve the motorist's claim as to the other vehicle's speed, but assuming for sake of argument that all is as he claims, what's the basis for concluding this is a failure to grant ROW?

    Pete
    Pete, excellent insight's as always. It would also be reasonable to lay a certain amount of the blame at the feet of the jurisdiction maintaining the road.(blind curve). Our OP in this thread seems like a very reasonable person, and one with an excellent driving record. I really hated to give him the responses I did. I'm not second guessing our colleague, but my temptation in this instance would have been not to cite, but still show him at fault. Actually, in Alabama, in this type of accident, that's all I could have done. The basis for finding that the OP failed to yield was the fact he was struck while entering the roadway. As I noted, I feel it's entirely possible the other vehicle quite possibly contributed to the accident by unlawful speed, or speed too fast for conditions. (ie: the blind curve). I guess what you end up with is the violation most capabable of being proved in court.

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    I am a crash reconstructionist. If you will send me a copy of the report with all the measurements, I will give you a speed estimation based on known drag factors and formulas published by Northwestern University of Illinois. Also take a range finder or a tape to the crash scene and measure the distance from where you pulled out to the point where an oncoming car would become visible. I can use this to confirm or dispel that the vehicle would have been visible when you pulled out. Even if it was, excessive speed could be a defense. I have contacted Troopers to recommend they withdraw a FTY citation based on the excessive speed of the other driver.

    126 feet of skids on asphalt in good condition in a slide to stop is at minimum, 55 MPH. This means that the vehicle was far above the posted limit of 45 and far above 55 MPH. I will need the surface type and the report to be able to finish the speed estimation. BTW, I will not charge you the going rate as long as you do not send me a subpoena.
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    I have issues a few of these citations, FTYROW from ______.

    Every time the driver states they "did not see" the other car. It happens.
    The bottom line is that if someone is occupying the lane and you do not yield even if they are doing 10 over or 10 under the speed limit, you failed to yield.
    Just because you did not SEE the car does NOT make it a violation.

    I would plead my case respectfully and hope for the best.
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    A similar incident occurred to me as well... I was making a left hand turn from a stop sign at an intersection where cross traffic did not have a stop sign. There was a hill to the right (from my perspective) and the speed limit is 35. I stopped, started my turn, and caught a glimpse of the other vehicle right befor the driver struck me.

    She was obviously going too fast, because she had not yet crested the hill when I made the turn. She insisted she hadn't been speeding, and it's my opinion that she did not want to accept responsibility primarily because she did not have insurance. (and who wants to say it was their fault anyway?)

    Since it was only my word against hers, I didn't bother arguing about it and just took my lumps in the form of a citation (my first and only since a speeding ticket when I was 16.) I felt justice was served in the form of the citation she received for no liability insurance. (about $500)

    It wasn't worth it to me to take time off from work to go to court on this... and my insurance didn't raise my rates. My pride was a bit bruised, but what can ya do?

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    On NC crash reports. I think it's important to note that the investigating officer has no say in determining who is at fault. At the very top of the crash report (DMV-349) there is a statement that reads, more or less, that the only folks who can determine fault in a wreck are the courts and the insurance companies. The officer is to list any contributing circumstances on the wreck report. If those circumstances are also a violation or infraction of a NC law, then the officer may cite for it. Some police departments I know of don't cite driver's in crashes unless a DWI or death is involved. Their reasoning (after I told them I thought they were crazy), was that they didn't witness the wreck so how do they really know what happened? They leave it up to the insurance company to decide what to do. Troopers are guided by policy to issue citations for "clear and substantial violations". It was clear due to the skid marks that the other driver crossed the centerline, thus their citation. As was stated earlier, no matter what the speed of the other vehicle, they had the right of way since they were on the main road, they had no responsibility to stop to let you out. You are required to let motorist on that road pass first. You're considered in this wreck as a non-contact vehicle so it was good of you to stop, most people don't nowadays. That being said, the Trooper didn't have much leeway in issuing a citation. They can only write on the report what they know for a fact happened, not driver's intentions or observations.
    Don't get me wrong, I understand that you say they were speeding, maybe she wasn't though, and just wasn't paying attention and saw you too late, causing her to overreact? If it were me, I'd go to court, you've got a good shot at getting it dropped or reduced.
    Also for the recon guys, the only measurements on our reports are road/shoulder width, and before/after measurements. And for speed we have the posted speed and estimate of orginal speed and est. of speed at time of collision.
    If you think the speed limit is too high you can write a letter to your district DOT engineer about have the speed limit reduced or have a caution/stop light installed and present your wreck report as evidence. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by 3rdShiftSmokey; 04-04-2008 at 04:45 AM.

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