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Pulling out of a side road – case law

There are lots and lots of things to consider in a case involving a vehicle pulling out of a side road and therefore I will only be able to provide a few ideas of the sort of situations that crop up regularly.

First of all, The Highway Code: What does this say about emerging from a side/minor road onto a main road?

  • Wait until there is a safe gap between you and any oncoming vehicle.
  • Watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other road users.
  • Check mirrors and blind spot again to ensure you are not being overtaken and then make the turn.
  • Do not cut the corner

The risks in these accidents involving emerging vehicles are usually caused because drivers do not look properly or fail to judge speed and distances properly. The onus of the responsibility is on the driver which is pulling out of the side road.

This has been shown in many cases. Even though there may be some contributing factor by the driver on the main road, the driver pulling out usually bears the most liability.

Vehicles Overtaking

This is an extremely common type of accident. Vehicle A is waiting to pull out of a side road and Vehicle B, on the main road, stops to allow them to do so. However, Vehicle C is overtaking Vehicle B on the main road and therefore collides with Vehicle A who has pulled out of the side road.

Now many would think that this is an equally blameworthy accident between Vehicle A and C. The Vehicle A should not have pulled out when unsafe to do so and Vehicle C should not have been overtaking at a junction.

This was the case in Worsfield v Howe. It was found that the overtaking vehicle was travelling too fast and the emerging vehicle could not see past the tanker that had allowed it to pull out. However most of these types of cases have not been settled this way.

In the case of Harding v Hinchcliffe the vehicle emerging from the side road was held fully liable for the accident. A bus was turning left into the side road in which the defendant was waiting to pull out of. In the process of the bus making the left turn, the defendant pulled out to turn right and collided with a vehicle overtaking the turning bus.

Speeding Vehicles

In this sort of circumstance where there is evidence of the vehicle on the main road speeding, then there is an average contributory negligence of between 20% to 25%. This means that they were partly responsible for the accident.

In the case of Hamied v Estwick, where the driver on the main road was travelling around 35-40mph on a 30mph road, when the defendant pulled out of a side road to turn right and collided with the driver on the main road. It was held that as the driver on the main road was fast, he did not give himself the opportunity to take evasive action in respect of the accident and the driver on the main road was held 20% responsible for the accident. The emerging driver carried 80% of the blame.

There are many many cases which can be named in order to discuss this topic and most of them vary in circumstances and have different outcomes.

However, the common theme is that they emerging driver “usually” bears most of the liability for an accident of this kind.

So if you have been injured as a passenger, driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian because of an accident such as this, please give The Injury Lawyers claims line a call. We are here to advise you on your specific circumstances.

Our claims line number is: 0800 634 7575 and speak to one of our expert team.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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