Who is at fault when a car turns left, colliding with a car that is trying to pass?

  • They may share the blame, depending on the facts
  • Each driver must ensure their manoeuvre can be done in safety.

In Ekman v. Cook a line of vehicles were following a pick-up truck and horse trailer.  The truck slowed, signalled left, and began to turn into a driveway.  Just before the truck started to turn, a motorcycle pulled out to pass the line of traffic.  The motorcyclist did not see the signal lights, and the truck driver did not shoulder check or use the mirrors to check for traffic before making the turn.  They collided.

The judge found both to be at fault.  Both failed to exercise the standard of care expected of drivers in that situation.  The truck driver should have checked behind for traffic just before turning.  The motorcyclist should have known that traffic was almost stopped for a reason, including the possibility that somebody was turning left.  He should have seen the signal lights.  If a driver is uncertain as to what is going on ahead, the driver should proceed with caution.

The motorcyclist bore the greater blame, at 75%.

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Read the case:  Ekman v. Cook