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  • By Jordan W. Charness

    When it comes to driving on long trips, it’s usually Peter in the driver’s seat with his wife Mary sitting beside him navigating and generally telling him where to go. Although they are both excellent drivers they both bring to the vocation their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

    Truth be told, Mary is probably a better driver than Peter but she can be somewhat reckless when it comes to watching her speed. She thinks that speed limit signs are simply advisory rather than the upper limits of speed the law allows on public roads. She seems to feel that getting there quickly may be more important than following the law.

    Peter on the other hand rarely speeds and has much more patience for driving long distances than Mary does. However he may not be quite as careful to observe what is happening on the road ahead of him as the law and common sense would require. This might explain why Mary’s constant warnings to Peter to be careful not to run in to other cars and pedestrians.

    “Look out for that car ahead of you. It seems to be swerving,” warned Mary.

    “I see him,” was Peter’s laconic reply.

    In fact, the car ahead of them had just swerved left and then back into the right lane. It was just after that that Mary cried out that there was something ahead of them in the road. Not only that, but the object seemed to be rolling directly towards them!

    “Look out!” screamed Mary both loudly and authoritatively. Peter looked forward and saw what appeared to be a garbage can on its side barreling its way toward them. With only a moment to react Peter quickly glanced to his left and saw that there was a car in his blind spot. A quick look in front of him showed that the garbage can was about to hit them head on. He did not have enough time to bring the car to a stop before hitting the garbage can and chose instead to pull the car to the right. Right off the road!

    Since he was travelling at highway speeds pulling to the side of the road was a dangerous manoeuvre. Of the three possible directions however, pulling to the right was the right thing to do. Although somewhat terrified, Peter retained control and some bushes at the side of the road slowed him down without causing too much damage to the car.

    By this time the garbage can had rolled off the road and was no longer a danger to motorists.

    When Peter got home he reported the incident to his insurance company who said that they would pay for the damage since he was insured for damage to his vehicle but that the accident would be declared as being 100% his fault. He contended that it was really the fault of whomever it was that had caused the garbage can to be there in the first place.

    In addition, Peter pointed out that by driving off the road he had chosen the safest procedure and it was one that had caused the least damage to people or metal.

    While all that was correct, according to law you are required to keep enough of a distance from the car ahead of you so as to be able to safely stop in an emergency without hitting the car ahead of you or an obstacle like a garbage can that might be in your path. It is extremely rare that in a collision with an inanimate object the inanimate object will be declared to be at fault for the accident.

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